If you have a mental health disorder, you have the right by law to independent advocacy no matter where you live in Scotland.

What is Mental Health Advocacy?

Independent Advocacy and Scottish Law

The Mental Health (Care & Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003, states that any person with a mental health disorder has a right to access Independent Advocacy. The recently updated Mental Health (Care & Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2015 builds on the right of the 2003 Act to Independent Advocacy Services. It requires Local Authorities, Health Boards, and the State Hospitals Board for Scotland to provide information to the Mental Welfare Commission about how they are meeting their duties to provide Independent Advocacy.  You do not have to be in hospital or on any kind of order to access Independent Advocacy Services.

Why Independent Advocacy Is Needed

Many people find that when they feel unwell it is not as easy to say what they want as it is at other times.  Independent Advocacy is a way to help you to make your voice stronger and to have as much control as possible over your own life.  Independent Advocacy Workers will work closely with you to explore your options, explain your basic human rights, and assist you through whatever issues you may have. Independent Advocacy Workers do not make decisions on your behalf nor do they put words in your mouth.  Under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003, people with learning disabilities and people with a mental illness also have a right to Independent Advocacy Support. You do not have to be in hospital, or under any Mental Health Act to get this right to Independent Advocacy.

Advocacy Western Isles have two trained Mental Health Independent Advocacy Workers, one in Lewis & Harris, and another in Uist and Barra, who have worked in the field of Mental Health for many years.  They are trained to offer Independent Advocacy to people who may experience various difficult issues at some point in their lives and need additional help during this time.

How Independent Advocacy Can Help

People who suffer from mental health issues can often find themselves vulnerable and anxious, finding it hard to speak up for themselves to get the assistance they need when faced with extraordinary circumstances that may occur during their lives.

An Independent Advocacy Worker will listen to your views, support you to speak up for yourself and speak for you when you feel unable to.  An Independent Advocacy Worker will explore options with you for solutions and find out what your rights are, allowing you to make informed choices over your life.

Below are just a few examples of when you may need Independent Advocacy support.

Mental Health Tribunals

A Mental Health Tribunal is an independent organisation set up to make decisions on the compulsory care and treatment of people with mental disorders in Scotland.

LEARN MORE

Compulsory Treatment Orders

A Compulsory Treatment Order (CTO) allows for a person to be treated for their mental illness.

LEARN MORE

Other Mental Health Services

Other Mental Health Services including Home Care and Social Care Assessments, Care Program Approach Plans, and support with Psychiatric / Psychology / GP Appointments.

LEARN MORE
“I felt like I was a person that nobody cared about, but my Advocacy Worker strengthened my confidence.”
Mental Health Advocacy Service User
“I never believed that they would listen to me or believe me, but with my Advocacy Worker there, I had a chance to speak and I felt strong that my voice was heard.”
Mental Health Service User
“I nearly lost it during my DWP complaint interview, but my Advocacy Worker kept me calm and we got through it together., thank you.”
Mental Health Advocacy Service User
“What a good job my Advocacy Worker did for me, as I could have never have gone through this support plan meeting alone.”
Mental Health Service
“I was so scared to face my PIP Assessment alone, but with my Advocacy Worker there I felt supported and when I couldn’t think of the words or got confused (due to my stroke), my Advocate spoke up for me.”
Mental Health Advocacy Service User
“When the social worker was asking questions about my past, I said just get them from my SW records.  But when she said she couldn’t find them, I just freaked out. But you came along and challenged them, and I got all my records in a matter of a few weeks. Thank you so much.”
Mental Health Advocacy Service User
“After a year of appeals and tribunals, I was finally received a back payment of almost £10,000 for my PIP and ESA.  I had just given up.  Now I can pay off my bills and move on.  Words aren’t enough to show my thanks”
Mental Health Advocacy Service User

“Thank you very much for everything you are doing and have done to help me through all of this. I could not have managed without you.”

Mental Health Advocacy Service User

“I am so glad you supported me.  It was so hard to try and make SW understand what my issues were.  Now, they are listening.”

Mental Health Advocacy Service User

“I couldn’t explain how I was feeling as I was being rejected and treated unfairly.  With Advocacy beside me, I was supported in my situation.”

Mental Health Advocacy Service User

“Thanks for helping my son to have access to his children, as he could not have managed without your support.”

Mental Health Advocacy Service User
“I could not have done this without you. I really, really, really appreciate it! I was ready for the tribunal because of your excellent work.”
Mental Health Advocacy Service User
“Thank you very much for everything you are doing and have done to help me through all of this. I could not have managed without you.”
Mental Health Advocacy Service User
I was so pleased Advocacy arranged help with my electricity bill after I was furloughed. I really appreciate it.”
Mental Health Advocacy Service User
“I felt despair, now I have hope for the future. Thank you.”
Mental Health Advocacy Service User
“I don’t know where I would be now if I hadn’t picked up the phone to you…..you’ve been brilliant. I honestly don’t think I could have coped without you.”
Mental Health Advocacy Service User
“Thank you, just sat down and studied this, took a while but worth it; you’ve done an amazing job in addressing each detail. ….. Looking at your points noted, I feel it gives even more strength to our case.”
Mental Health Advocacy Service User
“Thank for contacting HR on my behalf, I could not have managed it myself.”
Mental Health Advocacy Service User
I don’t know what I would have done without your encouragement. I feel more empowered now that you are on my side. I think that you should be cloned and one of you put in every organisation in the Western Isles”
Mental Health Advocacy Service User

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