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Advocacy Awareness Week – What is Advocacy and why is it important?

Dealing with mental health issues can be difficult, and sometimes it can sometimes be helpful to have someone speak on your behalf.

A mental health advocate can help support you, give you advice, and even speak on your behalf if you don’t feel able.

What is Advocacy?

There are many different types of advocacy, but we will be talking about Independent Mental Health Advocacy.

Advocacy is a process where you get support from a trained mental heal professional, who helps you express your needs and wishes when accessing care or mental health support.

Advocacy has helped many people better understand their treatment, their options, and their overall mental health.

Why Advocacy can be helpful

Advocates can accompany you to meetings, explore your options with you, and generally support you and your mental health.

If you’re having trouble navigating the mental health system, or feel you need additional support, a mental health advocate might be able to help you.

An advocate can understand you and your needs

A mental health advocate will spend time learning about you, your needs, your history, and how you want to proceed.

They’ll act as a partner, but ultimately will only ever act based on what you want.

Advocates can explain your legal rights

An advocate can help you understand your rights under the Mental Health Act, as well as any treatment you might be advised to take and the legal basis for that. From here, you can make an informed decision based on your current situation.

Advocates can speak on your behalf

One of most important benefits of having a mental health advocate is that, with your permission and consultation, they can speak on your behalf. This means they can express your views, enforce your rights, and make complaints.

Should you need to go to a Mental Health Tribunal hearing, they can present your views, or just be there for support.

Why Advocacy Awareness Week is important

Advocacy Awareness Week educates the public about advocacy as a service. This year they’re focusing on advocacy in action, and the real-world, practical benefits it can bring to a person’s life.

For example, not many people know that if you are entitled to advocacy, your local authority is legally obliged to provide you with one. If you are placed in hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983, you can request an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA).

In these situations, your advocate will play a vital role in ensuring you understand what your options are, and what next steps you can take.

 

Advocacy at Hammersmith, Fulham, Ealing, and Hounslow Mind

Mental health advocacy is a service we’re proud to offer at HFEH Mind. Our advocates work hard to provide helpful information, advice, and support, whatever you’re going through.

If you would like access to an advocate, get in touch with us today on one of our advocacy pages.

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Author: Jack Terry
Posted on: 2nd November 2021

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