Volunteer

We are seeking volunteers who are passionate and inspired about making a difference and ending the stigma around serious neuro-psychiatric brain diseases.

 

What kind of champion will you be?

A forest trail at dusk

Community Champion

  • Spread the word by distributing resource information within your community
  • Host a fundraising event
  • Become a support group leader
  • Be a social media advocate

Advocacy Champion

Members of our grassroots advocacy network play a key role in educating communities on policy issues and opportunities for positive change. This network works to connect with elected officials, raise awareness for policy issues, contribute to local resources, and engage new volunteers.

 

We seek advocates who support our mission to stand up and ensure all people living with serious brain disorders have access to: 

 

  • The health care and medicine they need 
  • The disability rights guaranteed to them by law 
  • A safe place to recover and grow 
  • Comprehensive wraparound services for brain health 

 

Most people come into advocacy on behalf of a loved one themselves. Advocates can work within the city or county level, at the state level, or even on the federal level in Washington, DC. All advocating requires an investment of time and resources as well as a determination to succeed. This volunteering opportunity is a great way to affect policy and services offered to those living with psychosis and feel empowered in a system fraught with missteps and uncoordinated care. 

Who Can Advocate?

Anyone with time to spare! Increasing awareness and reducing discrimination are goals you can work on without spending money or traveling. Advocacy includes making calls and writing letters to legislators to ask for reform or telling your own brain illness story. Schizophrenia & Psychosis Action Alliance offers many advocacy opportunities. 

The ground floor of advocacy is having what you need to care for yourself or your loved one. Ground floor advocacy includes:

 

  • Understanding a psychotic illness, how it happens, and what to expect 
  • Using the right verbiage and taking our pledge to change language about brain health 
  • Learning best practices for communicating with your loved one during psychosis/delusion (L.E.A.P.) 
  • Learning how to communicate with a clinician, crisis care team, or police officer during a crisis
  • Knowing how to navigate the legal system
  • Discovering legal documents for juvenile patients, such as an IEP in school 
  • Using legal documents for adult patients to obtain the information you need as a caregiver, communicating issues to a treatment team, and making medical decisions for the patient when appropriate 
  • Finding and using resources for additional legal help 
  • Understanding what services are available and how to access them 
  • Learning how to appeal when private insurance reduces or refuses coverage
  • Knowing what to do if the hospital is prematurely releasing a loved one from the hospital 
  • Understanding how to get SSI and SSDI benefits for your loved one (SOAR application) 
  • Assembling a “Red Book” to be used in times of crisis that keeps all documents, pictures, copies of health and symptom, a safety plan, etc.
  • Learning how to create an family treatment team and how to work with an medical treatment team 
  • Knowing how to access caregiver benefits in your state 
  • Continuing your education through free conferences and seminars at teaching institutions and hospitals 
  • Using social media to share initiatives 

The first floor of advocacy includes:

  • Advocating through letters, phone calls, and public statements on important local policy changes 
  • Developing scripts for you and your friends to make calls when policy changes are discussed  
  • Creating relationships with local representatives and officials  
  • Attending to county behavioral/mental health board meetings and other town halls to express specific difficulties and question officials on their stances on neuropsychiatric illness, homelessness, and disability rights
  • Joining your county’s behavioral/mental health board as well as working committees
  • Knowing what the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training includes and know where CIT officers are located
  • Writing opinion pieces to local newspapers 
  • Sharing helpful tips and policy discussions on social media
  • Joining local fundraising and awareness events related to schizophrenia-related issues
  • Hosting support group meetings while providing educational and social opportunities for these efforts 
  • Accessing free conferences and seminars at teaching institutions and hospitals 

The second floor of advocacy includes: 

 

  • Advocating through letters, phone calls, and public statements on important state policy changes
  • Developing scripts for you and your friends to make calls when policy changes are discussed
  • Following statehouse activities so you know when hearings are held on brain illness topics
  • Attending hearings when possible and offering to speak to any press present  
  • Attending meet-and-greets and town halls with state legislators prepared to talk about specific help that’s needed 
  • Volunteering to sit on a committee to draft new bills
  • Offering to testify at hearings on brain disorder issues
  • Writing opinion pieces to state newspapers 
  • Networking at events and offering to speak on behalf of those with serious brain disorders 
  • Sending books and articles to state officials can impact their understanding of brain illness issues and the services they fund

The third floor of advocacy includes: 

 

  • Advocating through letters, phone calls, and public statements on important federal policy changes
  • Developing scripts for you and your friends to make calls when policy changes are discussed
  • Following House and Senate activities so you know when hearings are held on brain illness topics
  • Attending hearings when possible and offering to speak to any press present  
  • Attending meet-and-greets and town halls with federal legislators prepared to talk about specific help that’s needed 
  • Writing opinion pieces to newspapers 
  • Networking at events and offering to speak on behalf of those with serious brain disorders 
  • Sending books and articles to federal officials can impact their understanding of brain illness issues and the services they fund
  • Participate in National Hill Day when advocates meet with representatives to advocate for reform

Interested in volunteering? Contact us today!

Questions? Contact us

In case of emergency,

call the Suicide Hotline at

800-273-8255

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Information on this website is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.

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