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Advocacy: Critical Component in a Comprehensive Mental Health System


  • The Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office does not speak on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Ontario.

concerning this article should be addressed to Stanley Stylianos, Psychiatric Patient Advocate Office, 55 St. Clair Ave. W., Suite 802, Toronto, Ontario M4V 2Y7, Canada. Electronic mail may be sent to


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.