One Members Advice on Advocacy

TMWC Member Bonnie defines advocacy as “advancing a specific cause for yourself or a group of people by speaking up or taking necessary action and continuing until all needs are met.” She suggests that one way for an individual to advocate is to be a registered voter. “Your voice is heard when you vote,” says Bonnie. “I vote for candidates who I know are for the people’s needs. So, when elections are happening, you should watch television, visit trusted internet sites, and read the pre-election mail so that you know who you want to vote for before you vote,” she advises. Bonnie also suggests contacting your elected officials as another way to be heard. “Contact your Mayor, City Council Members, Senators, the Governor, even the President,” she adds. “It may take some time, but the more you contact them, the better chance you have of being heard. You must be persistent when trying to reach government officials – and, when you finally reach someone, don’t forget that you must show kindness in your actions and words.”

Bonnie also suggests joining advocacy groups in the area. “There is strength in numbers,” she says. ‘For example, NAMI has Education, Advocacy, and Support, and that is my go to place for advocacy. I also use TMWC when I need support.” She also suggests using a Clients Rights Officer if you’re having an issue with a case manager or someone else involved in your care. “If all else fails and you feel you are not being heard, you can call the Mental Health Recovery Services Board of Lucas Count at 419-213-4600 or the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services at 614-466-2596.” You also can request a copy of your Client Rights and Grievance Procedures,” suggests Bonnie. “This easily explains what your rights are and how to file a grievance if feel it is necessary.”

If you have questions, Bonnie can be reached at 419-210-7135