With the meshing of consultation and advocacy, mental health counselors can both assist in dealing with the issues that their clients face personally, but also help to make better the world around them.
In order to respond to the thesis questions presented in this paper, we must first define consultation and social justice advocacy within the counseling context.
Typically, consultation means a general meeting or conference between parties. In the counseling context however, we can say that it “usually involves three parties: a consultant, a consultee, and a client system. The consultant delivers direct service to the consultee, who delivers direct service to a client system" (Doherty, 1990). Consultation for professional
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Advocacy can play an important role in many aspects of alleviating the plight of the oppressed population of mental health clients. For example, advocacy can assist in supporting equitable access to needed medical services. It can also help to reduce the discrimination experienced by consumers within the health care system by facilitating communication with health care providers and by addressing any prejudicial beliefs health care providers may hold. Finally, advocates can assist consumers in addressing any discrimination that they may experience within the health care system (Stylianos & Kehyayan, 2012). If not for the advocacy of interest groups, doctors, nurses, patients, politicians, etc. the recent healthcare system changes may never have been signed into law which would have left millions still without access to affordable healthcare coverage or being denied access for discriminatory reasons. If a client does not have health insurance or the means to pay for services, a consultant could be utilized as a third party source in order to help the client have access to mental health services. Consultants in this situation could range from a social worker, a career counselor or welfare office. The importance of children’s mental health in early development has long been documented, and many advocates have made impassioned pleas for additional resources