Forms of Advocacy

by Bill Deavel, Peer Support Coordinator

January 24, 2023

There are many different forms of advocacy, let me take you on my journey with advocacy. My recovery began in 2007 however I was being advocated for as early as 2003. My parents were trying to advocate for me to get the help that I needed. My first memory of being advocated for is when I went through the process of getting Social Security Benefits, I had a peer supporter a case manager and a lawyer all working on my behalf so I could get the benefits that I needed to get my life on track. From that point on my peer support specialist advocated for me and my growth in my recovery. She helped me get my first volunteer job and trained me for that position. She also advocated for me to receive Vocational Rehab benefits, things that I was unaware of that help me in the process of recovery. I am grateful for my peer support specialist that modeled advocacy for me.

The next form of advocacy that I was able to be apart of is for the peers that I serve as a peer support specialist, much in the same way my peer support specialist advocated for me. I have also been able to be part of treatment team meeting at the Mental Health Agency where I have been able to advocate for what the peer would like to do for their treatment rather than what the team wants to do for their treatment. That process isn’t always easy to navigate there is a lot of push back from the treatment team as they feel they know what’s best for the peer.

This next form of advocacy that I have been apart of since 2017 I had been unaware of until this point. Advocating for legislative action that created our workforce as well as these changes directly affecting the peers that we get to serve. I remember on a cold January day going up to the state capitol with a group of my peers where we peacefully march around the capitol in our support of peer support becoming a recognized profession. 2019 we advocated for peer support services to be Medicaid billable and in 2021 we were able to secure a set on the Behavior Board of Health. This year 2023 we are advocating for our workforce to strengthen the integrity of our workforce while at the same time giving the workforce the added training, they need to serve their peers and keeping themselves centered in their own recovery. I am not sure where I would be personally if advocacy wasn’t apart of my recovery journey. I do know that where ever you are in your recovery journey you to can be and advocate for yourself or other for recovery.


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