Advocating to improve the quality of life for people and families affected by mental illnesses has always been a priority for the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO). Since our inception in 1979, SSO has been active in advocating for policy and system changes that would benefit people with schizophrenia and psychosis and their families. Our commitment to community engagement, empowerment and system change has led us to draw upon the strengths of those directly affected by schizophrenia and psychotic illnesses, as well as mobilize individuals, sectors and organizations to advocate for change.
SSO’s MAKING A DIFFERENCE Program
The Making a Difference Program evolved from SSO’s “Access to Treatment” Campaign of 2007 and is now the cornerstone program guiding all of SSO’s public policy and advocacy work. Through this program the SSO works to promote positive system change, mobilize and build capacity of others, and advocate for access to all treatment types including psychiatric treatment (i.e. medication, hospital-based care, care by a psychiatrist, etc.); community services (such as counselling, Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams, peer support programs, etc.); and social supports (such as housing, income, employment, etc.).
How You Can Be Involved
The advocacy work that SSO does would not be possible without support in communities from people like you. Each and every person has the power to change the system for the better, and we see it as part of our job to help you do this.
SSO encourages people with mental illnesses, their families, and all members of the public to get out there and advocate to improve quality of life for all who affected by mental health issues! There are several ways that you can do this:
1) Be part of our Advocacy Coalition! By joining the Coalition you’ll:
• Stay informed about current national, provincial and local mental health initiatives
• Hear from SSO about ways that you can get involved in advocacy
• Learn more about effective advocacy strategies
• Be part of a common initiative and make a difference
To sign up to receive information about emerging issues and advocacy opportunities, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Access to Treatment Coalition" or call 1-800-449-6367.
2) Do your own advocacy
• Contact your MPP
• Write a letter to the editor
• Share your story through speaking engagements
• Talk to the media
• Spread the word to family, friends and co-workers to increase awareness about schizophrenia and psychosis and the barriers that people living with these conditions face.
Youth Advocacy Toolkit
This toolkit is specially designed for young people who want to advocate for change in the mental health. This toolkit gives you the tools, tips, and resources to make a difference. You can download it here