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Be the Self-Advocate, your Health Needs!

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

by Rita De Michele

Self-advocacy is the ability to communicate your needs.

Self-Advocate for your Health Needs!
Be the Self-Advocate, your Health Needs!

Learning to advocate for yourself is a art. I grew up shy and a people pleaser, others came first - I came second. I was taught that people who held positions of authority especially doctors, knew more and it’s not our place to question their advice. I embodied the Peace-Maker Archetype; keep the peace, go with the flow, don't ask questions, seek second opinions or challenge them.

After years of studying and practising personal development, I had strengthened an inner assertiveness that was just busting to be freed, and yet I still struggled to give my voice a microphone.

Until life came knocking, hard!

I was thrust into the role of the caregiver, as a mother, then as a daughter, and more recently as a wife - it was breath-taking the speed at which I had to take action and start speaking up.

What a difference it made in my life and for the people I was caring for, that I allowed myself to have an empowered voice married with action. A deep internal shift happens when life gives you a do-or-die situation. Your family or friends need you and you need you, to be able to step into a supportive space and speak for them when they can’t or don’t know how to.

Over the years I have seen a lot of different health experts from medical to complementary and have learnt that everyone has a different bedside manner from dismissive to welcoming of my questioning, raising concerns, challenging or requesting second opinions.

Not having your needs met, valued or being dismissed, and told it’s all in your head is no longer acceptable. Change happens when we change: nobody knows your body like you do, it always has your back, and you can assist it by owning your health and learning the skills to be an advocate.

Two different types of advocacy?

  1. Self-advocacy: when you stand up and speak up for yourself. You understand and defend your rights and can communicate your needs.

  2. Individual advocacy: involves acting on behalf of others (family, friend, client, or an individual) to advance their goals and needs.

Why is self-advocacy important?

Self-advocacy means you are an active participant for your own well-being and to have your needs met.

  • Helps ensure that healthcare is tailored for the individual, meets their specific needs, and reflects their goals and values.

  • Creates a more positive outlook by creating you as an authority over yourself.

  • Allows a person to stay in control of their life as much as possible.

  • You’re more likely to expect solutions to medical problems, ask for second opinions and have higher expectations for care, as opposed to accepting a problem and unresolved issues.

  • It puts you in a position to build trust as a partnership, within a supportive team for the best outcome.

How to get started and be the self-advocate, your health needs:

  • Listen to your intuition

  • Tap into your goals, values and needs for either an existing condition, prevention or personal life

  • Believe in your self-worth

  • Be courageous and resilient

  • Get informed about your needs and rights

  • Ask the right questions


Being heard and supported starts here.

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Note: Rita does not make decisions or give medical advice to the patients or their support persons. Always refer to your healthcare provider.

Our life is Onus




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