Effectively Advocating For Yourself

Self-advocacy refers to individuals taking matters of treatment services and insurance coverage into their own hands. Although a person might need the support of others, they are entitled to participate in decisions about care and treatment.

The self-advocacy movement seeks to reduce the isolation and feelings of helplessness people with mental illness may experience, and to give them the tools to take greater control over their lives.

Below are links to tools we hope will be helpful if you find yourself or someone you care about in a situation that requires self-advocacy. 

Follow this guide to learn the key steps for being an advocate for yourself.

As insurance companies continue to use managed care techniques such as utilization review—where your insurance company works with your provider to determine if a treatment plan is necessary for your well being -- to control health and mental health expenses, consumers must become increasingly knowledgeable of the utilization review and appeals processes in order to effectively fight for the treatment they need and deserve. By following the steps listed below, consumers, family members, and advocates will increase the likelihood that necessary treatment is provided.

Similar to a Medical Advance Directive or a Healthcare Power of Attorney, a Psychiatric Advance Directive is a legal document.  Written in a time of wellness, it tells healthcare providers about your preferences for services and treatment during a mental health crisis. It can also include helpful information about how you've responded to medications in the past.  A well-written directive takes the guesswork out of a situation when you may not be able to communicate your medical treatment preferences. A directive can also appoint someone to make treatment decisions on your behalf.

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