|Advocacy Coalition - NYWRAC|
|28nd Advocacy Training|
April 5, 2011
|At the Administrative Office 20 East First Street, Mount Vernon, NY|
|Rockland Psychiatric Center, Orangeburg, NY|
|Mount Vernon Hospital, Mount Vernon, NY|
|Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla, NY|
|St. Joseph's Medical Center, Yonkers, NY|
|St. Vincent's Medical Center, Harrison, NY|
|Summit Park Hospital, Pomona, NY|
|Dimensions - New Rochelle, NY|
|Strawberry Fields - Orangeburg, NY|
|Rockland Psychiatric Center Campus, NY|
|Elmwood Club - Garnerville, NY|
|L'dor House - New City, NY|
NYWRAC advocates have redefined the mental health profession by
acknowledging that each person knows themselves better than anyone, as
opposed to others knowing what’s best for them.
Our primary job is to make contact with our peers in the hospital
and community, listen to their expressed needs and feelings, and validate
those needs and feelings through advocacy and support.
The Peer Advocacy we do leads to increased autonomy, self
reliance and improved self worth.
NYWRAC fights for patients’ rights,
provides one-to-one advocacy and systems advocacy.
NYWRAC Advocates also facilitate over 20
mutual-support groups each week.
Now more than ever, people have been helped
to overcome the obstacles associated with poor mental health services
through programs such as NYWRAC. No longer is it necessary for people to
endure unjustified or illegal confinement or other abuses of their civil
rights simply because they have sought help or drawn attention to
Each year NYWRAC serves thousands of
attendees at mutual-support groups and provides one-to-one personal
support with hundreds of individuals.
Advocates have used their personal testimony to open the minds
and hearts of provider agencies, hospitals, community schools, police
forces and newspapers all for the benefit of our peers.
Since 1994, NYWRAC has trained over
people as peer advocates. NYWRAC
serves people from New York City, Westchester County and Rockland County
at Rockland Psychiatric Center. In
the past five years, Advocates have been placed at The Westchester
Medical Center, Mt. Vernon Hospital and New York United Medical Center.
Our newest hospital additions are St. Vincent’s Medical Center,
St. Joseph’s Medical Center and Summit
In addition to being in the hospitals, advocates are available to people living in the Westchester and Rockland communities. Contact an advocate at 1 877 HELP 800.
|Defining Peer Advocacy:|
Advocates have said that at the beginning of their
training they felt an inability to live their chosen life because of
their mental illness. Their
mental illness was the thing that defined who they were and what they
could not be. Many of them
had been taught that because of this brain disease they would always be
dependent on others and never overcome it.
They described their past as an extremely
different and difficult place. Their
difficulties were compounded by not being listened to or understood.
In the process of seeking help, the advocates described losing
their autonomy and being over controlled.
They told one another that they had been discounted, labelized,
stigmatized, dehumanized and hospitalized.
Advocates stated that the information,
education and encouragement offered during the training helped them to
change their belief to a new sense of who they were and what they
wanted. They expressed that the training created a fresh feeling of
hope, independence and purposefulness.
They saw themselves as people who could inspire and effectuate
change in themselves and others.
As the training progressed, they felt
counted, delivered and liberated from their label of mental illness.
They became aware that what was once called symptoms of an
illness were real responses to real situations. Their eyes were opened
to view their own experiences as valued expertise rather than necessary
As pioneers in a new system, they see
themselves as change agents to educate, witness, inform and prevent
abuse. Through love and humility, they are a consoling light that
empathizes, comforts, and brings hope to others. They open a new life to their peers while being good
listeners, communicators and teachers.
Though others have called them role models and revolutionaries,
advocates view themselves simply as part of a supportive network working
for the expressed interest of their peers.
Peer Advocacy Training:
NYWRAC presents a peer advocacy training twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. The training follows the Office of Mental Health guidelines for Peer Advocacy.
The training includes 72 hours in class training and a 48-hour internship at Rockland Psychiatric Center. Presenters come from around the State and speak on their expertise. Not only do the students learn from their instructors, but they learn from one another as well.
Some of the topics included are: Ethics and Confidentiality, Mental Hygiene Law, The History of the Mental Patient Liberation Movement, Facilitating Mutual Support Groups, Negotiating Skills, The Philosophy and Values of Peer Advocacy, Criminal Justice and Cultural Competence.
In the last nine years our agency has trained over 200 people. Graduates
have found work with in our agency as well as employment with many other
agencies across the state.
What I learned is that I know more than I thought I knew and during this
training I learned more. We need something to believe in and to believe
I learned better negotiating methods and received tips on how to
advocate more successfully. But this course affected me even more. My
self esteem rose. I discovered that many of the speakers had been
hospitalized at least once just like myself. It gave me a sense of pride
that these instructors became somebody. I can now say to a peer that you
are somebody and the odds are much better than you think.
I have changed for the better. There were so many people from different
backgrounds that came to the program and shared with us. We learned
tools that we can use in life.
"What is real” said the Velveteen Rabbit to the Skin Horse, who had been
made real long ago. “Real is not something you are. Its something you
become when a child loves you, not just to play with, but really loves
you. Then you become real and it last for always.” “Does it hurt,” asked
the Velveteen Rabbit, “Yes,” said the Skin Horse, “But when you are real
you don’t mind.”
Collective Reality: NYWRAC’s trainees Spring 2003
|Training Curriculum - 72 hours Classroom|
|48 hours Internship|
NYWRAC TRAINING APPLICATION
|Applying for Peer Advocacy Training is easy; simply contact us at our Peer Support Line at 1-877-HELP-800 or contact NYWRAC directly at 845-398-7098, and we sign you up to the next scheduled advocacy training.|