Mental and emotional challenges are part of the human experience. Why, then, do so many people have trouble accessing the resources and support they need when these challenges surface? A community that focuses on physical health, education, and financial security without also addressing mental health wellness loses the opportunity to help its citizens truly thrive.
Advocacy is the act of supporting or recommending a particular cause or policy, such as a legislative initiative, product, or marginalized group. Mental health wellness is the state of well-being in which an individual realizes their own abilities, can cope with the stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and can make a contribution to their community. Mental health wellness advocacy, then, is the commitment to helping people reach and maintain that state of well-being with tools, resources, and support from their community. Many people aren’t aware of how to ask for help, however, or don’t even know if they should.
The foundation of a community is its people, all with important feelings, thoughts, and perceptions about their experiences that inform the stories they tell themselves and others: Who am I? Do I have value? How do I live the best life possible, given my personal history? Sometimes just asking these questions, let alone exploring the answers, can become an obstacle when we feel invisible or misunderstood. Mental health challenges can make that process even more difficult.
When we advocate for mental health wellness, we combat stigmas around mental health, making it much easier for individuals to seek help. Mental health challenges are no longer considered shocking or shameful, but a part of life that can be addressed with compassion and dignity. When mental health improves, so does one’s ability to live a productive and fruitful life with a greater sense of connection and well-being.
The Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ashland County strives to be a partner for mental health advocacy locally and at the state and national levels to ensure that the mental health needs of our community are met. Through our network of providers, we ensure the availability and accessibility of quality services that support recovery for individuals with trauma, mental health challenges and/or drug and alcohol abuse and addictions.
Together, we can make sure that individuals in our community are aware of and have access to the mental health resources they need, while eliminating the stigmas around mental health through education and information.