Becoming your own advocate

Module: Self-Advocacy

Cindy Mendelson, PhD, RN


Tips on asking for help

Asking for help is key to managing your symptoms and to living a full life. Consider these tips.

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Becoming your own advocate

An important part of living successfully with a chronic illness is learning to advocate for your needs. Some people are more comfortable doing this than others. You should feel free to ask a friend or family member to work with you as you learn to become a self-advocate.

See the resource on “Tips for asking for help.

You may find that self-advocacy is important in:

  • deciding who does certain chores at home.
  • asking for changes at work that will make it easier for you to do your job.
  • telling to your health care providers about what is important to you.
  • accessing resources to which you are entitled, such as disability insurance.

Successful advocates have the ability to:

Communicate effectively

  • Be assertive without being aggressive.
  • Express feelings and concerns.

Seek information

Create solutions to problems

  • Develop a plan.
  • Settle on a course of action.

Learning to use these skills will help you become an effective advocate for your needs. You probably have many of these skills and probably use them to help others, but you may need some practice in using them for yourself. One way to develop self-advocacy skills is to prepare for encounters in which you may need to advocate for yourself. This can be done by developing a plan that will lead to your getting what you need.