Becoming an Advocate
Becoming an advocate means working to change the world, starting with oneself. Advocates change what they can, beginning with small, everyday problems but dreaming big. There are numerous social issues that are related to mental illness and bipolar disorder, in particular:
- Funding for treatment, including new treatments and disparities.
- Funding for research.
- Supported employment.
- State health care budgets.
- Criminalization of people living with mental illness.
For years in this county, mental health care services have fallen short when it comes to the support and treatment of individuals living with mental illness. It is very important to make sure competent care is available in your state. NAMIís 2009 Grading The States report reviews the care systems in every state and provides advocacy points as well as outlining strengths and urgent needs for each state.
Participation in research studies is another way to take an active part in improving options for people living with bipolar disorder. Scientists need volunteers from all backgrounds to volunteer for studies. ClinicalTrials.gov is one resource for finding these opportunities and www.nami.org/research also lists research studies.