Call 413.540.1234 to
schedule an appointment
CONCERN/EAP: 413.534.2625
Billing questions? Call: 413.540.1212
CRISIS: 413.733.6661

Health Policy & Advocacy
Basic Information

Health Policy & Advocacy

If you experience troubling emotional or psychological symptoms,like depression, bipolar disorder or manic depression, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, dissociative disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, an eating disorder, or an anxiety disorder, you may be looking for some information and support on speaking out for yourself.

Perhaps you have forgotten that you have the same rights as other people. Maybe, you may have come to feel that you have lost the power to ask for what you want and need. You may have struggled so much that you have become discouraged, just a little, or maybe deeply.

If you have been having a very hard time, others may have taken control over your life; they may be making most or all of your decisions. They may be doing a reasonable job of this, but you want to take back control. Perhaps you simple want others to treat you with the dignity and respect you deserve.

Whatever your situation...

Fast Facts: Learn! Fast!

How can I become an effective health advocate for myself?

  • Even if you feel you have never advocated effectively for yourself, you can learn to become your own best champion.
  • Being a good self-advocate means taking personal responsibility for your own life, putting yourself back in charge and staying there.
  • Speaking out means insisting that others respect your rights and treat you well.
  • Believe in Yourself - Believing in yourself means you are aware of your strengths, know that you are worthwhile, and are willing to take good care of yourself.
  • Get the Facts - When you speak up for yourself, you need to know what you are talking about. You need to gather information and make sure the information you have is accurate.
  • Plan Your Strategy - Once you know what you want and you have information about it, you may want to set a timeline and even small goals to achieve by certain dates. You may want to think of several ways to address the problem in case one way doesn't work out.
  • Gather Support - It is easier and usually more effective to work on getting what you want and need for yourself if you have the support of one or several friends, family members, or health care providers.
  • Target Your Efforts - Figure out who you need to deal with to get action on this matter and talk directly with the person or people who can best assist you.
  • Ask for what you want - Make an appointment to see the person or people who can help you get what you want. When you are asking for what you want and need, be brief and concise.
  • Assert yourself calmly - Don't lose your temper and lash out at the other person, their character, or the organization.
  • Be firm and persistent - Don't give up! Keep at it until you get what you want, need, and deserve.
  • Debrief -After your appointment, arrange to meet a friend so you can tell someone what happened. It will help reduce your stress and keep you feeling well.
  • Know Your Rights - everyone is entitled to the same civil rights and equal treatment, including people with disabilities or distressing symptoms.

For more information 

Latest News
Frequent Blood Donations Safe for Some, But Not All
Drone Sets New Record for Transporting Blood Samples
Gun Injuries Add Millions of Dollars to Hospital Costs
ACP Does Not Support Legalization of Assisted Suicide
AAP: Few Doctors Provide Firearm Injury Prevention Info in ER
9 of 10 Docs Unprepared to Prescribe Marijuana
This Mistake Can Cost Athletes' Lives in Cardiac Arrest
Drills Assess ER Response to Communicable Disease
Do Nursing Home Workers Change Gloves Often Enough?
Minorities Exposed to Dirtier Air, U.S. Study Finds
Physicians Tweeting About Drugs May Have Conflict of Interest
'Science Spin' Found Prevalent in Biomedical Literature
Health Tip: Overcoming the Obesity Epidemic
U.S. Military Surgeons Helped More Than 6,000 Afghan Adults
What You Can Do to Help Fight the Opioid Epidemic
Are Physicians Obligated to Help on Planes?
Median Cost of Cancer Drug Development $648.0 Million
Does Study Claim a Cure? Beware of Scientific 'Spin'
Vaccine Campaign in Poor Countries to Save 20 Million Lives
Third Dose of MMR Vaccine Could Help Curb Mumps Outbreaks
Docs Should Be Aware of Family Beliefs Regarding Nondisclosure
Increase in Medical Exemptions From Immunization in California
Mailed Invitations Increase CRC Screening Completion
Many Americans Getting Medical Care They Don't Need
Insurer Aetna's Envelopes Revealed Customers' HIV Status
Health Groups Demand 'R' Rating for Movies That Show Smoking
Google Search for 'Depression' Now to Provide Screening Test
Patients' Hearing Loss May Mean Poorer Medical Care
FDA May Limit 'Risk Info' in Direct-to-Consumer TV Drug Ads
FDA Announces Recall of Some Liquid Pharmaceutical Products
Is FDA Taking Close Enough Look at Fast-Tracked Drugs?
Steep Price Hikes Led to Drop in Use of 2 Heart Drugs at U.S. Hospitals
APA: Medical Discrimination Based on Size Stresses Patients
2 of 3 U.S. Patients Keep Unused Painkillers After Surgery
Medical Reality Catches Up to Science Fiction
FDA Looks to Reduce Nicotine in Cigarettes
AHA Hands-Only CPR Training Kiosks Available at More Airports
$100 Sweetens the Pot for a Colonoscopy
Just a Few Vaccine Refusers Could Endanger Many
ASCO Addresses Cancer Drug Pricing
High Court Rules Against Interstate Medical Liability
Fewer U.S. Dollars Spent on Cardiac Arrest Research: Study
Painkiller Prescriptions More Prone to Errors If Handwritten
FDA Panel OKs What May Soon Be First Gene Therapy Approved in U.S.
Walking Rates Are Key to a Country's Obesity Levels
Docs Should Counsel Even Healthy People on Diet, Exercise, Experts Say
Health Service Use Unchanged From 1996-1997 to 2011-2012
Easier Colon Exam Boosts Screening, But Insurers May Not Pay
More U.S. Patients Are Recording Their Doctor Visits
Medication Mistakes Have Doubled in U.S. Since 2000: Study
Questions and Answers
Book Reviews
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest NewsQuestions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics