Mental Health Advocacy is a rapidly growing movement both nationally and internationally, as persons with mental disabilities – often with past experiences of injustices committed against them – form advocacy groups with specific emphasis on their rights and need for equal opportunities.
Launched in October 2009, the South African Mental Health Advocacy Movement (SAMHAM) aims to break down barriers. An important function is to fight stigma and discrimination head on and to empower persons with mental disabilities by:
- Lobbying for adequate services and equal opportunities;
- Influencing legislation and policies affecting persons with mental disabilities;
- Ensuring participation and inclusion with regard to discussions and decisions conducted at all levels,
- Speaking in one voice in raising issues that affect them as consumers;
- Sharing information about their experiences to open others' minds to their humanity
- Participating in community actions to improve services;
- Being involved in public awareness campaigns.