How to Be an Advocate

Do you want to help improve services for youth with mental illness, but aren't sure how to start?

Do you want to develop the skills to be a voice for your patients and your profession?

Become an Advocacy Liaison
Any AACAP member interested in becoming better engaged with mental health advocacy and adding your voice to AACAP’s advocacy efforts is invited to join the Advocacy Liaison (AL) Network. Advocacy Liaisons freely participate in monthly calls to learn about the latest state and federal initiatives and effective strategies to organize grassroots activities in your regional organization. If you are interested in becoming an Advocacy Liaison, please contact govaffairs@aacap.org. Learn more about the role of an AL.

AACAP-developed tools allow you to hone your advocacy skills, learn about policy issues and get involved.

Advocacy Training Presentations
AACAP provides advocacy training for AACAP Regional Organizations and psychiatry training programs. If you are interested in organizing a training, please contact gov@aacap.org. To view and download slides from past trainings, please click here. (member log-in required)

Grassroots Advocacy Tools
A key component of AACAP's approach to advocacy is the strength of our grassroots network. Use the resources below to improve your advocacy at the state and local levels.

  • Advocacy Check List for Regional Organizations of AACAP
    A step-by-step guide for you and your regional organization for effective state advocacy.
  • AACAP State Advocacy Manual
    This manual is intended to help AACAP members get involved in advocacy in their states and communities.
  • State Advocacy Toolkit
    Developed in partnership with a national coalition of parents, educators, mental health professionals, and physicians, this toolkit aims to help you educate state lawmakers about children's mental health in America.
  • Understanding Your State Legislator
    Written by James MacIntyre, M.D., this article provides practical tips to help you better understand your state legislators and guidelines on effective communication.
  • Advocating for Children and Adolescents with Mental Illnesses
    This article, published in the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, discusses ways in which child and adolescent psychiatrists can engage in advocacy on behalf of their patients and their profession.
  • Organizing Forums on Children's Health
    This tool is intended to help AACAP Regional Organizations organize and implement forums to raise awareness of children's mental health issues in their states.

2017 Advocacy and Collaboration Grants

As part of AACAP’s initiative to support local and state advocacy, regional organizations can apply for an Advocacy and Collaboration Grant, awards of up to $3,000, to help support new advocacy work and improve collaboration with allied professional organizations. Any regional organization interested in applying for an Advocacy and Collaboration Grant must submit completed applications by January 13, 2017 to gov@aacap.org.

Advocacy and Collaboration Grants may be awarded to up to 10 AACAP Regional Organizations in 2017. The grants are intended to help Regional Organizations engage in advocacy activities to improve children’s mental health care in their state or community, and require collaboration with allied consumer or professional organizations. AACAP’s AEC reviews all applications and makes final award decisions. First-time applicants are encouraged to apply.

For any questions about this grant opportunity for AACAP’s regional organizations, please email gov@aacap.org.