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The Public Psychiatrist as Advocate 

The Public Psychiatrist as Advocate
The Public Psychiatrist as Advocate

Ebony Dix

and Ayana Jordan

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date: 21 May 2022

Given the credibility many physicians possess with legislators, political leaders, and other policymakers, along with people of influence such as thought leaders and activists, community psychiatrists play an important role in patient advocacy. Contemporary professional advocacy is rooted in mental health advocacy generally, beginning with Dorothea Dix’s asylum movement in the 19th century. This chapter reviews the historical significance of mental illness and the underpinnings of modern-day mental health advocacy. It then discusses the community psychiatrist’s role in advocating for mental health care, primary prevention, community awareness, and social justice. It includes examples of the community psychiatrist effectively serving in the advocate role, and it explains the how and where to learn about public policy and advocacy skills. It concludes with a summary of key learning points.

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