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Through one-on-one support via phone, email or face-to-face, Callum helps clients navigate the mental health system by informing them of their legal rights under the Mental Health Act and through proper referral to the right organization or service. Last year, Callum spoke with to 1,748 people requesting Advocacy support. Advocacy also revived the SelfAdvocacy Skills workshop, where Callum speaks to groups of people in the community about their rights and how to self-negotiate. “People should know what their rights are and most don’t. People should know how they can get treatment and many don’t know that either,” he says. “It’s even more important to know your rights if you’ve got a mental health condition because you’re a lot more vulnerable.” Perhaps the greatest achievement for Callum was Advocacy’s leading role alongside Mental Health Patient Advocate Office and Alberta Human Rights Commission in developing provincial-wide guidelines around the release of a person’s mental health status in their police background check. The effort was built upon previous work done by Advocacy in 2010 that had achieved official procedures for Calgary. And because of the work, out of 156,000 police checks requested in Calgary last year, only eight people’s mental health status was released. Calgary police have also invited the Advocacy program to participate in the appeals process when someone’s status does appear on their background check. Advocacy Navigating through the mental health system can be a daunting experience. The Advocacy program assists any person with a mental health service need. Support may include assistance in navigating complicated systems, assisting people in overcoming challenges and identifying opportunities while ensuring the protection of human rights. The program assists with such issues as health care, finances, completing paperwork, filing complaints, residential tenancy issues and more. Advocacy also maintains close working relationships with community and provincial organizations and systems to move big picture systemic and policy issues forward for improved service delivery. People receive support to obtain information on available community resources, and for assistance with developing actions or steps to address their issues and improve their situation, promoting their skills for advocating for themselves. In 2012-2013: 1,748 individuals with mental health concerns receive support from Advocacy (an increase of 508 from last year) 10% 37% 35% 97% 8 self-advocacy workshops were offered (an increase of 5 from last year) required support for family required assistance for mental health issues and access to care required assistance for legal, financial, housing or social support issues reported they now know what steps they will take to address their issue A n n u a l R e p o r t t o t h e C o m m u n i t y 2 0 1 2 - 2 0 1 3 21