I came here...to get help with my depression and schizophrenia...I like to communicate with people here. Everybody my friend. I help at Sky Light by cleaning and helping with garbage...I am happy sitting in the Sky Light courtyard drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and talking to my friends. It helps my mental illness...I am happy here.

– Irakly Sanadze

Advocacy

"Advocacy is an important means of raising awareness on mental health issues and ensuring that mental health is on the national agenda of governments. Advocacy can lead to improvements in policy, legislation and service development."
– (World Health Organization, 2003)

Sky Light Center embraces the concept of advocacy as promoting the human rights of persons recovering from psychiatric disabilities and reducing stigma and discrimination. Our advocacy program consists of various actions aimed at changing the major structural and attitudinal barriers to achieving positive mental health outcomes in our country.

Some of the barriers to mental health are the following:

  • Lack of mental health services
  • Unaffordable cost of mental health care
  • Lack of parity between mental health and physical health
  • Poor quality of care
  • Violations of human rights
  • Lack of adequate housing and employment opportunities Stigma
  • Absence of programs for the promotion of mental health policies, plans, programs and legislation.

Sky Light Center believes in involving as many stakeholders as possible in our advocacy endeavors thereby creating positive alliances. This includes consumers, families, nongovernmental organizations, the general population, the media, and policy-makers/planners on a local, state and national level.

Our advocacy activities include:

  • Awareness-raising
  • Information
  • Education
  • Training
  • Mutual help
  • Defending
  • Denouncing
  • Reaching out to public officials and media through letter writing
  • Voter registration
  • Partnering with coalitions such as; New York Clubhouse Coalition, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, Inc., etc.