Advocacy in mental health

Explains what advocacy is and how it can help you. Gives information on different types of adovcacy, including statutory advocates, what sort of situations an advocate can help you with, and how to find an advocate.

Your stories

What does the Care Act mean for people with mental health problems?

Helen from our Policy and Campaigns team blogs about the implications of the Care Act.

Helen Undy, Senior Policy & Campaigns Officer
Posted on 23/05/2014

Having my voice heard made all the difference

Andy reflects on his year as a Voice of Mind and having his voice heard in the run up to the general election.

Andy Hollinghurst, Voice of Mind
Posted on 01/05/2015

The night I spent in a cell

Claire blogs about why a police cell was the last place she needed to be during a mental health crisis.

Posted on 27/11/2014

How do I find an advocate?

Depending on your situation and what you want help with, there are various organisations that can help you find statutory and non-statutory advocacy services in your local area:

If you're specifically looking for a statutory advocate, see our pages on statutory advocacy, Independent Mental Health Advocates (IMHAs) and Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (IMCAs) for more information.

[My local] Mind have recently acted on my behalf and having that support has meant I can move forward as I need to... the feeling of anxiety which has been a part of my life for so long has now lifted to a more manageable level.

What if there's no advocacy service in my area?

Unfortunately, if you're not entitled to a statutory advocate, you may find there are limited advocacy services in your area – or none at all. This can be really tough, especially if you feel you don't have people around you who you can ask for support. If you're in this situation, there are still some things you can try:

  • Some organisations, like Rethink Mental Illness and VoiceAbility can support you to set up group advocacy in your area. This can involve people with similar experiences of a problem coming together to support each other to have their voices heard. See our page on types of advocacy for more information about group advocacy.
  • If you have people you can ask, a family member, friend or carer can also act as an advocate for you. See our page on types of advocacy for more information about how family, friends or carers can act as advocates.
  • Be your own advocate. It might feel like a challenge, but you can learn to advocate for yourself. See our page on types of advocacy for more information about self-advocacy and what support you could get to do this.

Remember: If you are entitled to statutory advocacy from an IMHA or IMCA , then you have a legal right to that support. You can’t, for example, be told that there is no IMHA or IMCA service in your area, as every local authority has a legal obligation to ensure that there is provision in place. (See our pages on statutory advocacy, IMHAs and IMCAs for more information about when you are entitled to an advocate).

If you have been denied the support of an IMHA or IMCA, even though you are entitled to one, you should seek legal advice from a mental health or community care solicitor. See Citizens Advice's page on using a solicitor for more information on how to find a solicitor and how to work with one.

This information was published in August 2015. We will revise it in 2017.

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