Presentation on theme: "Brain Injury- Survivor/Family Advocacy"— Presentation transcript:
1Brain Injury- Survivor/Family Advocacy Carmela Hutchison, PresidentAlberta Network for Mental Health & DAWN-RAFH CanadaBIAC, 11 July 2008
2GoalTo help survivors gain knowledge and skill to become self-advocates, advocate for other people, and advocate with agencies, policymakers and government leaders
3ObjectiveLearn basic principles of advocacy and practice skills that are important for effective advocacy efforts
4ApplicationGroup Activity – brainstorm with the group about what advocacy means to them
5AdvocacyTo defend a right or ask a favor on behalf of yourself or others using:Right languageRight timeRight placeRight person who can respect the right or grant the favorRight method
6An advocate is:A self advocate is able to stand in support of their own need and/or rightAn advocate is someone who is willing to stand beside someone in support of their need and/or rightAn advocate speaks on behalf of: themselves; another person; or a group
7An advocate is:Directed by the consumer’s needs and begins by listening and understanding the person, the facts, and the needSomeone who has good listening skills, is accepting, has knowledge of what options are available, laws and procedure (or can find them), and be able to clearly state what you want in a positive way (assertive)
8An advocate is: Reasonably available to the survivor Eager, enthusiastic, committed, energeticSomeone who knows when to “make peace”; mediate; or use other problem solving skillsSomeone who also knows when to express opposition, be resistant, intense and passionate
9An Advocate Is Directed by the survivor Someone who listens to what the survivor is actually asking for rather than what you think they needSomeone who follows the reasonable directions of the survivorSomeone who can deal with difficult situations or people in crisis
10Application Group Discussion of Different Types of Advocacy Ask group members for and personal examples or experiences they want to share with the group
12Preparing the Advocacy Plan Define the issue – be sure you understand it wellPrepare a response instead of a reactionBreak the problem into small stepsUse problem solving skills to helpConcentrate on the things you can changeDetermine the goalsIdentify your resources
13Preparing the Advocacy Plan Know your allies and your opponentsKnow your strengths and weaknessesPlan your strategyForum, TimingTacticseducating, reminding, pressuring, complaining, negotiating, legal action, political actionPut the strategy into actionEvaluate and adjust as necessaryKeep accurate records
14ApplicationDo the self-assessment tool on strengths and areas for developmentBe honest here to get an accurate picture for how to improve your advocacy skills
15Common Advocacy Issues Promotion of rights, freedoms, dignity, safety (protection from financial, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse)Ensuring protection of legal and human rightsHelping consumers receive health care, social service, private insurance benefitsPromoting independenceAssisting consumers to get the least intrusive methods of supportProtection from discrimination
16Carrying Out Your Advocacy Plan Using the following checklist, proceed from the most gentle to more persistent tacticsFollow the proper channelsKeep accurate records and confirm ALL verbal agreements IN WRITINGBuild a resource list of people who have been helpful to you or share the same issue; identify people of influence
17Carrying Out Your Advocacy Plan Make the request and state why you want it and the reason it should be grantedMake the worker do the work as much as possible, government is there to provide serviceIdentify who is authorized to make decisions and ask to see themFollow the chain of command one level at a time until you get help
18Carrying Out Your Advocacy Plan Insist on common sense. Refuse to let your issue be needlessly complicated or made overly complexFind good examples of similar cases solved the way you want your case to goPrepare your compromise points in advance (sometimes compromise is the only way)
19Carrying Out Your Advocacy Plan Discover areas where officials have some leeway that is not entirely limited by policyShow that there are always exceptions to the rulesCite the case law or policy, rule, or legislation (helps to have legal advice if you can get it or someone with the same experience).Develop a good relationship with a “buddy” in the system who can help discretely
20Carrying Out Your Advocacy Plan Make it clear you are going to persist until a resolution is reached (preach, embarrass, go to the press)Evaluate and adjust your plan if you are still not getting anywhereFind the support of third parties and start carefully building coalitions (be careful, sometimes the more people you involve in a problem, the more complicated it becomes and their agendas can compete with yours)
21Application- Using the scenario provided, create an advocacy plan in your group
22Advocacy Skills Assertiveness (verbal and non verbal) Communication SkillsAttitudeNegotiation SkillsProblem Solving Skills
23AssertivenessAssertive behavior enables a person to act in their own best interest and advocate for themselves with confidence; to express honesty comfortably; and exercise personal rights without denying the rights of others.
24AssertivenessIs an important skill because the lack of it is the chief barrier to getting your needs metLack of assertiveness is one of the key issues during times of mental illness; even if you have the skill, you may not be able to use it
25Assertive People are brave respect self and others own their own feelings, thoughts, and ideasopenly and honesty state their feelingsunderstand the possible consequences of assertivenessknow when and how to be assertive
26Tips For Assertiveness Choose the right timeChoose the right placeBe directUse “I” statementsContent: be specific, spontaneous, genuine, directUse body language to back up your wordsConfirm your requestPractice the skill in safe situations
27Non Verbal Assertive Skills 90% of our message is delivered through nonverbal communication (http://web.cba.neu.edu/~ewertheim/interper/commun.htm)Eye contactBody posture, body spaceGesturesVoice, tone, volume
28ApplicationReview and role play some assertiveness techniques
29Communication SkillsCommunication skills allow for good relationships with many peopleMeans you are understood and you understand the other personBe an active listenerAsk questions to show you are listening and check understandingSummarize what the other person has said
31Negotiation SkillsNegotiation is a discussion intended to produce an agreementLead with the strongest part of your argumentBe brief and relevantFocus on solutions instead of complaintsControl your emotions
32Negotiation SkillsHave a minimum in mind in advance that you are willing to acceptShow you understand the other person’s positionBe persistent, use “I” statementsBe non threateningPoint out faulty logic or weak points
33Negotiation SkillsAsk for the chance to present more information or follow-upRestate any actions agreed uponSet a timeline for actionBe prepared to walk out without resolving the issueFollow-up
34ApplicationTo practice verbal communication, have participants form Groups of two and role pay a face to face meeting or telephone call addressing an advocacy situationHave one person be the advocate and another person being approached to solve the problem
35Application While doing the communication exercise focus on: Using I statementsListen activelyPlan and practice what you will sayNegotiate for what you wantBe considerateKeep records and follow up
36Problem Solving Skills Are the most important skill to avoid conflictDefine the problemBreak down complex problemsSet prioritiesLook at causes and who is affected by a problem
37Problem Solving Skills Identify solutionsSelect a solutionPlan your actionTake actionEvaluate and adjust
38ApplicationProblem Solving Skills – In groups of three, identify a problem using the problem solving process, and how to formulate a solution to the problem using the consumer’s decision about what they want to happen, assist the group to break the problem down into manageable parts to come up with a resolution
39Application Problem Solving Process What do you want to happen? Who will you approach?What are the strengths of your case?What does the other side have to gain?What is the action plan?Select an approach?
41Selecting an Approach Consider the following: Which approach will most likely solve the problem for the long term?Which approach is the most realistic to accomplish for now?Do you have the resources?Do you have enough time to implement the approach?Are there any risks to taking the chosen approach?
42Individual Rights and Responsibilities Natural rights may not be expressed under a particular law (the right to be heard, for example)Citizen rights are legislated rights that are protected under federal and provincial lawHealth/Mental health legislation may affect our ability to exercise our rights in some situations
43Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Equality rights – equal treatment before and under the law, equal protection and benefit of the law without discrimination on the basis of: in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
44Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Democratic rights – every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and participate in political activitiesMobility rights - Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada, to move take up residence and gain livelihood in any province; these are limited by a) laws of a province except for those that discriminate on the basis of area of residence (ie professional acts); and b) any laws providing for reasonable residency requirements as a qualification for the receipt of publicly provided social services.
45Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Legal Rights- the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty; the right to retain and instruct counsel without delay; the right to an interpreter for the language in which the court proceeding takes place or the right to an interpreter if deaf; and against unreasonable search and seizure or cruel and unusual treatment
46Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Language rights -The right to use either English or French languages in communications with Federal and certain Provincial GovernmentsMinority language education rights- in general French and English Minorities in every Province and Territory have the right to be educated in their own language
47Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:a) freedom of conscience and religion;b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;c) freedom of peaceful assembly; andd) freedom of association.
48Individual Responsibilities as a Canadian Understand and obey Canadian LawsParticipate in Canada’s democratic political systemVote in ElectionsAllow other Canadians to enjoy their rights and freedomsAppreciate and help and to preserve Canada’s multicultural heritage
49Enforcing your rightsIf your rights have been violated by Federal or Provincial Government, you have the right to appealThis right is usually stated on the forms or a poster or you are informed of it; IF IT IS NOT VISIBLE ASK; there are usually appeal bodies in each agency; ultimately once these levels of appeal are exhausted you can go to Court and may proceed all the way up to the Supreme Court of Canada if your motions of appeal are granted by the courts
50Enforcing your rightsIf your rights have been violated by a private individual you may seek justice from Federal or Provincial Human Rights Commissions, Privacy Commission, Office of the Ombudsman, Community advocacy organizationsIf you require legal assistance, you may be eligible for free or low cost legal assistance
51Enforcing Your RightsIt must be noted that access to low cost legal help is not cheap. It is extremely limited and this has led to many people representing themselves in court.The best goal for an advocate is to build such a strong case you avoid ever having to enter an appeal process by winning your request at the start by using the best problem solving approach and having all the facts and above all, avoiding inappropriate anger that blocks problem solving.
54ApplicationUsing an example from the Problem solving exercise, prepare a letter on behalf of the “survivor” addressing the issueWatch the format of the letterExplain what you want include relevant documentationExplain action takenExplain steps taken set a timeline for a response/actionCc right people watch the toneKeep a copyProofread
55Tips and Tricks for Brain Injury Survivors Keep a day timer where you can record a lot of things in one place. Meetings and appointments are easier to pace if you can see the whole month at a glance; keep one section to record conversations with date and timeMake appointments to talk to public agencies, doctors or other service providers rather than showing up unannounced; prepare in advance what you want to accomplish in point form and tick it offPrepare people who have anger management or issues where they may blurt out inappropriately that you will cue them with “If I could interject” and that means they will stop talking and let you fill the point inEnsure your own method for managing your own health and coping skills is in place as much as possible;
56Tips & TricksHave someone you can debrief with after stressful situationsIn a conflictual or stressful intervention, if something goes badly but you still feel like it was the right thing to do, then it was probably okHave a set of resources of people who can help, most communities have a list of crisis lines, food banks and so on
57Tips and TricksUse and exchange business cards with all the people you talk to – it keeps you from forgetting to include pieces of contact information and allows you to remember who you spoke with for the futureFor some people with severe brain injury it may be good to use a communication book with providers in complex advocacy situationsUsing advance directives can also help people with TBI have more input into their decision making by using a representative to advocate on their behalf
58Sources of Information Alberta Network for Mental Health (Fellowship)National Network for Mental HealthSelf Help ConnectionOpportunity Works