Advocate. /ˈadvəkət/ (noun) A person who supports and speaks up on behalf of a specific cause or group of people.
It means advocating for the needs of people impacted by mental health conditions and suicide – using your voice and your skills to support those experiencing or at risk for mental health conditions or those who are affected by suicide ideation, attempt, or loss.
When we do this, we can ensure that individuals with mental health conditions receive appropriate care, create interventions where suicide risk is high, and support systems that make it easier for the general population to access mental health resources.
There is no single way to be an advocate, but all of us can advocate for better mental health and suicide prevention. And it will take all of us to make a world without suicide a reality.
Mental health advocates are people who focus their support on helping individuals with mental health conditions of all varieties and levels of severity, along with their immediate support networks: families, friends, employers, and peers.
Mental health advocacy is considered one of the World Health Organization’s eleven areas of action because of how much it benefits people who experience mental health disorders or impacts from suicide, along with their families and immediate support networks. Advocates take action in a variety of ways, from raising awareness to educating communities to providing or seeking training.
Mental health advocates can be considered “heroes without capes,” working in their communities to share stories, take action, and help those struggling to advance the cause of mental health care and suicide prevention.
Becoming a mental health and suicide prevention advocate starts with understanding what mental health and suicide are and how they affect individuals, groups, and communities. By learning about the experiences of people and the communities they are a part of, we can collectively come to understand how mental health conditions and suicide affect us–and how we can take action to prevent those negative effects.
When we understand what prevention looks like, we can use our voice and amplify the voices of others to make a difference. Mental health advocacy can look like:
There is no single way to advocate for mental health and suicide prevention. Your advocacy is as unique as you are, and your skills and voice are needed. Any person of any ability can be a mental health advocate.
There are many ways you can join Lost&Found’s efforts to end suicide for young adults (15-34). Getting started is as simple as a click and can grow to fit your interests, skills, and passion for supporting people experiencing mental health conditions or impacts from suicide.
Here’s a few ways you can get started:
The journey of becoming an advocate for better mental health and suicide prevention takes many forms. No matter what advocacy looks like for you, it takes all of us to make a difference. We all have a role to play.