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Posted: April 25th, 2023

ADVOCATING FOR SOCIAL CHANGE AND IMPACTING LEGISLATIVE ACTION

ADVOCATING FOR SOCIAL CHANGE AND IMPACTING LEGISLATIVE ACTION
Your ultimate goal of becoming a clinical mental health counselor means working with clients to help them understand and work through their issues and strengthen their overall well-being. A critical part of your development as a counseling professional involves learning about emerging issues your clients may be facing and using your unique position to impact positive social change.

Advocating for social change starts with choosing your message and getting the word out. The methods for making the public aware have progressed from flyers, brochures, and poster sessions at conferences to advocating online, including blogs, wikis, and social media. However, the central goal of these communications remains focused on presenting the issue and the goal as clearly and succinctly as possible. Using these skills to advocate for change, especially legislative action, can have widespread impact on you and your current and future clients.

This week’s Discussion has two components. First, you will develop skills to become an effective agent for social change by creating an informational product advocating for a particular population or issue that interests you. Then, you will take the next step by contacting an elected official to share your material and advocate for legislative action.

Post a brief reflection on the impact of your actions (3-5 sentences) and paste the content of your letter or email into the discussion board (do not submit as an attachment). Use the following questions to guide your reflection summary:

How do your personal actions as a professional counselor (such as writing a letter to your congressperson) impact your current and future clients?
How do these types of actions reflect Walden’s commitment to social change?
Include an attachment or link to your Social Change informational product with your discussion post and advocacy letter.

References

Erford, B. T. (Ed.). (2018). Orientation to the counseling profession: Advocacy, ethics, and essential professional foundations (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Chapter 14, “Advocating for the Counseling Profession” (pp. 435-457)
Chapter 15, “Advocacy Counseling: Being an Effective Agent of Change for Clients” (pp. 458-485)
American Counseling Association. (2012). Home pageLinks to an external site..Links to an external site. Retrieved from http://www.counseling.org
American Counseling Association. (n.d.-a). ACA branches.Links to an external site. Retrieved March 13, 2018, from https://www.counseling.org/about-us/divisions-regions-and-branches/branches
American Counseling Association. (n.d.-b). ACA government affairs: Overview.Links to an external site. Retrieved March 13, 2018, from https://www.counseling.org/government-affairs/public-policy
Longley, R. (2019, October 2). Tips for writing effective letters to Congress.Links to an external site. ThoughtCo. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/write-effective-letters-to-congress-3322301
Multicultural Counseling Competencies Revisions Committee. (2015). Multicultural and social justice counseling competencies Download Multicultural and social justice counseling competencies. Download .Retrieved from https://www.counseling.org/docs/default-source/competencies/multicultural-and-social-justice-counseling-competencies.pdf?sfvrsn=20

As a professional counselor, advocating for social change and legislative action can have a significant impact on both current and future clients. Writing a letter to a congressperson is just one example of how personal actions can contribute to positive social change. By bringing attention to a particular issue or population, it raises awareness and can potentially lead to legislative action that supports clients’ well-being. Walden’s commitment to social change is reflected in these types of actions, as it encourages professionals to use their skills and knowledge to create positive change in the world. Here is my advocacy letter and the link to my informational product on the importance of mental health services for marginalized communities:

Dear [Congressperson’s Name],

I am writing to you today to advocate for increased access to mental health services for marginalized communities. As a clinical mental health counselor, I have seen firsthand the devastating impact of limited access to mental health care on individuals and communities. Without proper care and support, individuals may experience poor mental health outcomes, leading to negative consequences for their overall well-being and potential long-term effects on their families, communities, and society.

Marginalized communities, in particular, face significant barriers to accessing mental health care due to a variety of factors such as lack of insurance, transportation, and cultural stigma surrounding mental health issues. These communities are disproportionately affected by mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD, and often do not receive the care they need.

I urge you to support legislation that increases access to mental health services for marginalized communities. This could include increasing funding for mental health clinics and organizations that serve these communities, expanding insurance coverage for mental health services, and promoting mental health awareness and education in these communities.

Thank you for your attention to this important issue, and I hope you will consider supporting legislation that addresses the mental health needs of marginalized communities.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Link to my Social Change informational product: https://www.canva.com/design/DAEaFtNcJjA/wy-1hA77JiUMtPQUP-07zA/view?utm_content=DAEaFtNcJjA&utm_campaign=designshare&utm_medium=link&utm_source=sharebutton

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