Advocacy and Community Engagement

This project explores advocacy as a key strategy for community engagement and participation in local, state and national efforts to highlight behavioral health disparities as an important avenue for policy development and systems change. 

Purpose: To build on the experiences and expertise of community leaders and groups in multicultural communities who have been successful in advocating for greater awareness of disparities and subsequent policy and practice changes in behavioral health and related systems 

Population Addressed: All major racial/ethnic populations.

Rationale and Relevance:

  • Community engagement is a prerequisite for developing effective partnerships and networks to address disparities and the existing stigma associated with behavioral health issues.  One area that is often neglected in community engagement, especially in communities of color, is advocacy efforts.
  • Community engagement was identified as one of the major priorities of the NNED, as reducing and eliminating distrust in racial, ethnic and cultural communities is essential.  One form of community engagement – advocacy – is often under-developed in these communities and groups often lack the tools and training needed to be effective in this area.

Projected Outcomes:

  • Develop a set of tools and resources related to advocacy, which take into account the unique opportunities and challenges that communities of color face in this area
  • Showcase and highlight effective advocacy strategies and techniques related to behavioral health for communities of color
  • Create a cadre of advocacy individuals and groups that can assist other interested communities in developing effective strategies

 Read the Bill of Rights -- For Adults, Youth, and Children with Behavioral Health Care Needs and Their Family Members.

Download the Health Care Reform Letter the Learning Cluster members submitted on February 18, 2010.

Download the one pager for this Learning Cluster.

>> Back to Learning Clusters page