Get Active: How to be an Advocate
The Importance of Community Activism
MHA-SF values, organizes, and relies on community involvement. We strongly believe that community members need to be involved in the San Francisco mental health policy-making process. Consumers, family and friends, and the public are all affected by government policy. Acting together, we can be a powerful force in changing and improving the City and County’s approach to behavioral health issues.
Officials care about what their constituents think. The more people they hear from on a particular matter, the more seriously they will take it.
Here’s how you can get involved:
- Get advocacy experience and training from MHASF!
- Health and Wellness Action Advocates
- Training for Advocacy-Skills-Connections
- Contact the Mayor or your Supervisor by letter
- Letters should be on personal or business letterhead, with a return address on both the letter and envelope.
- Each letter should be about only one ordinance or budget item.
- Any type of written communication – even a postcard – is better than nothing.
- Stress how a particular issue would affect persons citywide or in the Supervisor’s district, namely you.
- Try to keep your letter to one page. Make the points simple and concise.
- Keep in mind that the reader may not be familiar with the subject matter.
- Ask for a reply indicating the Mayor or Supervisor’s position.
- Attend a public meeting
- Mental Health Board meetings are publicized here
- Board of Supervisors meetings are publicized here
- Bring as many people as possible to show wide public interest.
- If the meeting is open to public comment or testimony, and you feel comfortable speaking, do so! Be sure to prepare notes. Try to speak about how a proposed action will affect people in the community.