Call 24/7 for Information at (804) 729-8884

How to Advocate for Your Own Mental Health

How to Advocate for Your Mental Health, When you advocate for your mental health, you are protecting your sobriety from all of the threats that can arise throughout your day.

Addiction to drugs and alcohol occurs for many reasons. Often, poor mental health is a primary cause. Stress, anxiety, depression, and panic can all drive a person to substances for temporary relief. If you’ve been to addiction treatment, you know how important it is to safeguard your mental health to avoid relapse. But that’s not always easy when life is filled with challenges, pressures, and difficult emotions.

What Does It Mean to Advocate for Your Mental Health?

Advocating for your mental health means recognizing the importance of mental well-being and consistently working to support your specific needs. Mental health includes, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, emotional health, cognitive health, and relationships. When you advocate for your mental health, you are protecting your sobriety from all of the threats that can arise throughout your day.

For some, stepping up and saying, “You know, I just need a day off…” is not easy to do. For others, reaching out to friends to say, “I’m really struggling with stress right now–can you help me?” seems impossible. Grief, anxiety, loss, self-imposed guilt and shame, and a long list of other negative emotions can make it seem impossible to ask for help or take care of your mental health. Yet, it is critical.

How to Advocate for Your Mental Health

Make your mental health a priority. To do so, determine the needs you have, understand the value and importance of mental health, and then incorporate specific strategies that help your brain to function at its best.

  • Speak up until you’re heard. Sometimes, people do not know how to interact or support those struggling with mental health concerns. Other times, they are unable to see what is happening to you because of their own problems. 
  • Talk to your doctor right away. Your doctor should be your first mental health advocate, a person who is committed to helping you to maintain your physical and mental health. Ask for help when you feel uneasy.
  • Find a way to ask for help that feels safe. This ranges widely from one person to the next. You may feel that writing a note or a text message is easier than communicating in person. If you need help, find a way – any way – to ask for it.
  • Take the time off. Self-care is critical for improving and maintaining quality of life. Take time to do things you love every day and give yourself a break from stress as often as possible.
  • Find someone who really listens to you. A good listener isn’t going to tell you what to do or judge you; instead, they will help you open up, feel supported, and discover your own solutions. Often, the best type of listener is a professional therapist. Don’t hesitate to seek out therapy–it can be a basic component of self-care for many people.

If you start to crave substances, recognize that as a sign that it’s time to seek out support. Your therapist can guide you. Your recovery support group is always available to offer encouragement. When you feel that you “need a drink” to deal with the stress, recognize that as an indication that it’s time to give extra support to your mental health.

Contact Iron Bridge to Learn More About Our Drug and Alcohol Addiction Program

At Iron Bridge Recovery Center, we are committed to providing you with the tools and resources to rebuild after challenging situations or in those moments when you just need a break. Contact us now and learn more about our drug and alcohol treatment program and addiction recovery opportunities.

Scroll to Top