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Keywords:

  • mental health consumers;
  • mental health practitioners;
  • advocacy;
  • human rights protection;
  • Americans with Disabilities Act;
  • Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Although rights protection and best interest perspectives are frequently viewed as diametric opposites, mental health advocacy is an important strategy in pursuit of both civil rights and therapeutic goals for people with mental illness. Independent, client-centered advocacy supports the attainment of consumer-identified goals for recovery, equality, and social inclusion and mitigates the negative consequences of stigma and discrimination. Advocacy strives to return decision-making authority to consumers and thus to empower them to play a more central role in their own care, treatment, rehabilitation, and life choices.