Document Type

Psychiatry Issue Brief

Publication Date





A Spanish translation of this publication is available to download under "Additional Files" below.

Mental health advocates in America have been in existence since the opening of the first public asylum – Eastern State Hospital in Williamsburg, Virginia – in 1772. Advocacy and the role of advocates still continues today, 240 years later, as the mental health community lobbies for the rights and concerns of individuals living with mental illness. Advocacy efforts focus on various issues such as comprehensive health insurance coverage (e.g., the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), the implementation of advance directives, and the need for specialized services for children with mental health conditions and their families. This Psychiatry Issue Brief explores the history of recovery and advocacy, barriers and strategies to the advocacy movement, and potential pitfalls of advocates not working together toward shared goals.

Subject Area

Legal Issues, Policy, Rehabilitation/Recovery


Advocacy, Spanish

Rights and Permissions

Copyright © University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.



Email the Authors

Jeffrey L. Geller