World Psoriasis Day: 10 Ways to Become a Psoriasis Advocateby Julie Cerrone Croner Patient Advocate
An advocate is a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy. This World Psoriasis Day (and every day for that matter), we urge you to get involved and help raise awareness for psoriasis! Whether you’re a patient, caregiver, or a loved one of someone with psoriasis, you have a valuable story to share. There are many ways you can help support raising awareness for this condition. The following are 10 strategies to get involved.
Learn as Much as You Can About Psoriatic Disease
One of the most important aspects of being an advocate is understanding your cause through and through. Take the time to learn and absorb as much information as you can. You may not know all the answers, but you can point people to the right resources. Have a few in your back pocket for when you get questions.
Share Your Story
There are numerous ways that you can share your story. Whether it’s a personal story of battling psoriasis or a caregiving story, you can help provide hope and information for others. The easiest way to share is to talk to your family and friends. Don’t keep your story bottled up, talk about it! If you want to take it one step further, you can share your story with HealthCentral or by contacting the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF).
There are SO many patients and caregivers talking about psoriasis online. Connect with others, learn more, and share your own story. By searching hashtags like #Psoriasis, #PsA, #Chroniclife, #Chronicillness, #Spoonies, and others on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, you can find other like-minded people. By using these hashtags in your own posts, you can help build awareness and reach others who are looking for information, as well.
Join Online Groups
There are many different online support groups you can join to meet others who are advocating and battling psoriasis. Join the NFP’s TalkPsoriasis online support community, Inspire, or search for Facebook groups that interest you. My good friend and psoriasis advocate Todd Bello runs a Facebook group called Overcoming Psoriasis. It’s a great place to connect with other patients and learn more. Need some more examples? Check out these nine organizations and websites dedicated to psoriasis research and patients.
Connect and Learn From Other Psoriasis Advocates
There is SO much to learn from other psoriasis advocates. And lucky for you, HealthCentral brings many of them together. Take a few moments and scroll through the videos of the Psoriasis Memo to Me, learn why Candice believes you must advocate for yourself, take a look at Alisha's or Sabrina’s articles, or shameless plug, check out my own personal psoriatic disease website It’s Just A Bad Day, NOT A Bad Life.
Volunteer Your Time
There are many organizations and foundations that can help you get involved in your community. Between walks, bike rides, bingos nights, fairs, and other advocacy events, the NPF makes it easy for you to meet others with psoriasis and get involved. Fill out a volunteer interest form to get started. However, the NPF is just the start! Look for other psoriasis events and fundraisers in your area. Here are seven that you should check out.
Become an NPF One to One Mentor
Help people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis cope with their condition by sharing what you have learned. Provide emotional support and practical advice to others and direct them to care resources. Help people living with psoriatic diseases develop goals for a healthier lifestyle. You have the lived experience, and NPF can provide the training to help you become an effective mentor. Learn more and sign up.
Become an NPF Ambassador
Get Involved With Clinical Trials
A great way to get personally involved is through clinical trials investigating new psoriasis drugs. Before new treatments and medications can be approved for use, they must be rigorously tested and gain approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Learn more about trials and get involved. Sites like Clara Health or the NPF can help you connect with ongoing trials. Talk to your doctor about whether you might be a good candidate.
Whatever You Do, Get Involved!
I have given you 10 suggestions of ways to get involved in spreading awareness, but this is just the start! While I’m a big proponent of becoming an NPF Ambassador, there is no right or wrong way to advocate for psoriasis. When it comes down to it, if we share our story and knowledge the best way we know how, we can help spread awareness and make a change. Advocacy not only impacts the lives of others, but can change your own life, as well!