Undertaking advocacy activities can be very rewarding, giving a sense of achievement and real empowerment. It also carries with it some personal risks. Putting yourself forward, being exposed to new situations, expressing your views is always challenging. It is a privilege to be able to provide consumer or carer perspectives and as such we have a responsibility to speak up, even though at first this may be difficult.
Preparation and organisation are two of the keys to successful advocacy and participation. It is essential that all people who make the decision to be involved in advocacy work (whether paid or unpaid) give some thought to how they can protect themselves from being totally swamped by the political, economical and social realities which may surround them.
While it is a challenge to become involved in advocacy activities as an individual, or as part of a group, it is perhaps even more challenging to keep the original enthusiasm and momentum going in definitely. Self motivation is required as a general rule and it is also very useful to engage a 'buddy' who could be a fellow consumer, carer or a member of the organisation you are involved in.
During people's daily lives they are constantly undertaking evaluation. People evaluate whether the coffee is too hot, whether it is safe to cross the road, the benefits of taking a bus or walking. More complex evaluation is merely an extension of what people do naturally however in this Resource, we are talking about self-evaluation.
Change is influenced from many quarters. Consumers and carers bring their own perspective to the requirements for change, as do the service providers, administrators and arrange of concerned individuals. Some of the time, the objectives of all the players appear to be the same. Where this happens, opportunities exist for the collective action.