Yvette Sangster, of the Georgia Advocacy Office, recently stepped down as Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) Program Director to take a new position of Director of Advocacy Education. In that position she will be presenting statewide rights advocacy education workshops to support and educate individuals in the community.She is the founder and first Executive Director of Advocacy Unlimited, Inc. Her vision, energy, enthusiasm, and organizing skills have helped AU to become a nationally recognized model for advocacy education and activism within the mental health system. Ms. Sangster designed the program at a time when she had already developed her own advocacy skills as the mother of a teenager who had a traumatic brain injury and a host of system and service obstacles. She fought hard to have her son's needs met and to prove that a once-hopeless prognosis was entirely wrong. She succeeded on both fronts and ultimately decided to apply the same determination to persons, like herself, with psychiatric disabilities. With experience from within and without the mental health system, Sangster was well-equipped to carve out a place for a non-traditional program like AU. Today she is widely known for her tenacity and ability to motivate and promote the very real concept of recovery from mental illness.
Sangster delivers lectures and presents workshops on topics related to personal empowerment strategies, consumer education, systems redesign, advocacy program development, legislative advocacy, coalition-building, and network development. She is an active participant on numerous boards, task forces, and planning committees - and is a former member of NARPA's Board of Directors.