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Advocacy – speaking up for people

It can be hard to tell people if you are concerned about your treatment in hospital or using a mental health service. Advocacy is when a trained volunteer speaks up for you. They are independent of the health service and completely confidential. Advocates can advise you about your rights.

An advocate can help you to:

  • be included in the decision-making process
  • be treated with respect and as an equal
  • get independent information, support and advice
  • challenge assumptions

What can advocates do?

Advocates are there to listen to you. You can talk things through with an independent person. They can also help you make other people listen to your opinion.

They offer support and representations at meetings. These can be when you talk to your nurse, doctor or social worker, or on ward rounds. Or at official meetings like Care Programme Approach (CPA) meetings, Manager Hearings or Mental Health Review Tribunals.

If you are being kept in hospital under a section of the Mental Health Act they can help you appeal.

They provide independent information about your treatment options your rights while in hospital and right to community aftercare.

They offer guidance and support with regard to formal procedures such as access to medical records and complaints procedures.

Advocates can help you get other services such and solicitors and legal representation.

Bristol Mind advocates are

  • Independent of other services - our services are not part of health or social services.
  • Confidential - we do not share information about you without permission unless you or other people are at risk.
  • Empowering - we do not make judgements about your choices. We can help you understand your options and help you say what you want to service providers.

Types of advocacy services

Find out more about the types of advocacy we offer:

Outreach advocacy – advocates working in the community
In-patient advocacy - based on wards at Callington Road and Southmead Hospitals
Advocacy in prisons - in prisons and secure units
Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)
Independent Mental Health Advocacy