What is Advocacy?

Advocacy means getting support from an independent person who can help you to express your views, wishes and feelings. They will also help you to understand and stand up for your rights.

What Does an Independent Mental Health Advocate Do?

The role of an advocate depends on your situation and the support you need. Whatever the situatuion, an independent advocate is always there to support your choices.

An independent mental health advocate will:

  • Explore your options and help you to understand your rights
  • Listen to your views and concerns, and be on your side
  • Explain why certain decisions have been made about your care or future
  • Treat what you say in confidence, only sharing your views if you ask them to (unless you tell them about you or someone else being at risk of harm)
  • Provide information to help you make informed decisions
  • Raise concerns or make a complaint about your care or treatment
  • Accompany you and support you in meetings relating to your care, treatment and planning for the future. 
  • Always be open and honest with you.

An advocate will not: 

  • Give you their personal opinion
  • Solve problems and make decisions for you
  • Make judgements about you.

How Can an Independent Mental Health Advocate Help Me?

As detailed in the section above an advocate can provide support in many ways.

Here are some questions that our advocates regularly get asked, and can provide support and guidance for:

  • Why won’t anyone listen to me?
  • How can I get off my section? 
  • How can I be discharged?
  • Can I be given medication without my consent?
  • Why am I so far from home?
  • Can I have a say in my care/treatment/? 
  • Do I have any rights when I am Sectioned?

The answers will always be specific to you and, depend on your individual situation and circumstances.

Further Questions

Still Have Questions?

If you have further questions about NYAS' mental health advocacy, or our additional support services, just get in touch.

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