Giving Back in a New Way
Patient advocacy is a relatively simple concept: providing support for consumers. But what exactly is a NIH Patient Advocate Volunteer and what do they do?
Patient Advocates are volunteers who assist consumers in our clinic lobbies. Our Patient Advocates connect consumers to services/resources, engage them in conversation, sign them up for MyStrength and actively listen to their needs. Our lively, empathetic volunteers are cause-oriented and believe in combating the societal stigma surrounding mental health. Volunteers do so by offering a helping hand to all consumers, especially consumers who may need it most. Aside from stigma, Patient Advocates are aware of barriers that our consumers may face and are trained in how to assist them.
Our Patient Advocate Volunteer Program is a win-win for consumers and volunteers. Consumers are supported in the lobbies and our advocates gain experience they can put on their resume. This unique volunteer opportunity also offers students and other community members the chance to refine their professional skills and gain experience in the mental health field. Some may even be inspired to pursue a career in mental health. Although our volunteers come from different backgrounds, there is at least one commonality; each of them view our consumers as human beings who are worthy of care, attention, respect and empathy.
If you are interested in becoming a Patient Advocate, please contact me at 313-308-1400 x319 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Our volunteers pictured above from left to right: Maddi Boudreau, Claude Partridge, Linda W., Chuck H.)