The Student Organization for the Advocacy of Psychology (SOAP) at Nova Southeastern University's College of Psychology was founded in 2003 due to the lack of understanding, resources, and involvement of students pertaining to legislative advocacy and community outreach endeavors. The organization seeks to overcome the limitations of psychological training by informing students of the nature and importance of advocacy, by motivating them to become involved, and by providing tangible opportunities for students to work toward forwarding the field. The organization seeks to advance the field of psychology through internal and external advocacy endeavors. Our internal initiative promotes legislative advocacy for current psychological issues, including managed care, worker's compensation, court appointed immunity for psychologists, psychologist as physician, mental health parity, parent coordinator, baker act reform, and prescription privileges, among other important issues currently underway.
The external branch seeks to decrease public stigmatization associated with psychological and mental heath issues, and increase public awareness of the interconnectedness between physical and mental health. SOAP functions as an active and involving organization in that student members are given practical opportunities to advocate for the future of our field. Students may participate in a variety of advocacy events targeting college students, university organizations, underserved, diverse and disadvantaged populations, men, chronically and seriously mentally ill, and older adults. Student members are instrumental in disseminating mental health information to such target populations. We seek to inform the general public of the nature of mental illness and to promote the importance of psychological resources for alleviating a variety of physical and mental disease.
SOAP additionally functions to persuade the general public domain of the interrelationship between physical and mental health and to provide such populations with information of empirically supported techniques for preventing illness, promoting physical health, and reducing stress through psychological means. Given the deficits of advocacy training within the doctoral curriculum, SOAP functions to provide education to students in order that the new understanding might serve as an impetus for advocacy engagement. SOAP has provided monthly educational colloquia and discussion seminars to students to provide information about their field and the populations they will serve.