The Role of the Psychiatrist as Advocate
Mary E. Barber
Published online: 22 July 2008
Ó Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008
Abstract There are a number of ways in which a psychiatrist or other mental health
professional can advocate for mental health issues. The author uses her own involvement in
the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists (AGLP) as a way to illustrate the
advocacy role. Challenges and accomplishments with respect to that role and the organi-
zation’s work are discussed.
Keywords Psychiatrist Á Role Á Advocacy Á Gay and lesbian Á Leadership Á
Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals can enter an advocacy role in a number
of ways. They can write or speak publicly on a topic, raise funds for an organization or
lobby a representative. A potentially powerful way of taking on the advocate’s role is to
serve on the board or staff of an advocacy organization. Between 2001 and 2005, the
author served as Board President of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists
(AGLP), an elected, volunteer position.
Background and Purpose
AGLP is a nonproﬁt national advocacy and member organization with over 500 members
dispersed around the country. It has only one part-time paid staff member, the Executive
Director (ED) and its leadership meets twice a year.
AGLP has a proud history , writing its bylaws and electing its ﬁrst President in 1978.
This ofﬁcial start of the association came 5 years after homosexuality was removed from
M. E. Barber (&)
Rockland Psychiatric Center, 140 Old Orangeburg Rd., Orangeburg, NY 10962, USA
Psychiatr Q (2008) 79:287–292