Advocacy organizations often have local chapters or affiliates who may be able to inform you about social service options in your community. Support groups can also be helpful for referrals from people with firsthand knowledge of a service or organization. Try a web search on a specific disability or social service requirement to see if you can find an appropriate organization. Look for nonprofit organizations. Below are examples of advocacy organizations for mental health in the U.S.:
- Mental Health Affiliate – Mental Health America affiliates provide public education, information and referral, and support group information.
- NAMI Helpline – The National Alliance on Mental Illness has a helpline providing information, referral, and support. NAMI also has numerous chapters across the United States.
Advocacy organizations across the globe:
- 7 Cups of Tea – Service that allows you to anonymously connect to a trained, compassionate listener to talk about mental health or any other personal matter.
Advocacy organizations for elder care in the U.S.:
- AARP – Offers member discounts on services for seniors, consumer advice, and health care, housing, and caregiving information and directories.
- Medicare Rights Center – National nonprofit organization that provides education, advocacy and legal assistance to help older people and people with disabilities obtain fair access to Medicare and health care.
- Medicare Rights Center – A nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities.
- National Association of Area Agencies on Aging – Offers resources on caregiving and links to eldercare service agencies.
Legal aid clinics can be a good starting point for getting help with a variety of issues, from housing to restraining orders to disability benefits advocacy. Try doing a search for legal clinics in your state or county.
In the U.S.
- Legal Services Corporation provides a searchable directory of free/low income legal clinics by state.
- National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys offers resources for the elderly to find legal help.
In Other Countries:
- In the UK, Legal Services Commission provides information on how to access legal aid.
- In Australia, find your state’s legal aid commission.
- In Canada, find a legal aid office in your province.
If you’ve been in a challenging situation, you may not realize that you are eligible for some benefits. The websites below offer a starting point for researching benefits.
In the U.S.:
- Benefits.gov outlines government benefits and eligibility, from housing to food and healthcare needs.
- BenefitsCheckUp offers a tool to determine seniors’ eligibility for benefit programs to help pay for medications, health care, utilities, and other services. (National Council on Aging)
In Other Countries: