Celebrating Year of the Peer 2023
The first theme of the Year of the Peer is Advocacy. Advocacy can be when we as peers speak in front of legislative representatives. During January, legislators are considering how to spend money in various capacities. Mental health advocates, as well as people representing other areas of need, go up to a microphone and speak in front of the legislators. By doing this each year, we hope to keep them aware and their eye on mental health.
Another form of advocacy is self-advocacy. I believe this is a learned technique because we are not born with this knowledge. I’ve noticed that learning self-advocacy is one of the most powerful, empowering things we can do.
Some examples include asking your doctor to look at you for that brief fifteen minute appointment instead of staring at their computer. Also, especially when hospitalized and receiving medicine, ask what each pill is. It’s important to not only know what you are taking, but which pill is which. When you feel like a medication is not working, doing some research as to other possibilities and asking your doctor what their thoughts are on changing to a new medication and listening to the doctor’s answer. Self-advocacy is not “bossing” your doctor. It is working together for the best outcome for your needs.