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An advocate is someone who can both listen to you and speak for you in times of need. If you have a mental health problem then you may find it difficult for your opinions or ideas to be taken seriously, or you are not offered what you would like, or that you find it difficult in dealing with official organisations or companies. Our advocates can help in a wide variety of situations, including: helping you express your views and concerns, helping you access information and services, making you and others aware of your rights, helping you explore options and choices. Our advocates are independent. This means they will be acting entirely in your interests as expressed by you to them and will work alongside you, on your instructions. Advocacy is provided for one-off situations or for short term support over a period for a particular identified need for advocacy, rather than as long term support. In practice this might mean that one of our advocates will go with you to meetings, either to speak on your behalf or to be supportive (it would be agreed beforehand when it would be appropriate they would speak); they can write letters on your behalf; speak in person or on the phone on your behalf; help with filling in forms; or simply provide or find out the information you need. Advocacy can help with a wide range of issues, both within the mental health services and outside them. Within mental health services an advocate can help you with meetings or appointments with doctors, social workers or other care/health workers; they can inform you of your rights under the Mental Health Act and other legislation, and generally enable you to be informed and involved in your own care and treatment. They can also assist you in making complaints. In the wider community, advocates can help you with filling in forms, benefits, housing (including somewhere to live, moving, dealing with the council/landlord or neighbours), communicating with gas, electricity, phone companies etc, negotiating over the payment of bills, debt and financial advice. We are now also registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (recognition number 754680) to negotiate Debt Relief Orders (DRO) for individuals with debts of up to £20,000 with assets worth less than £1,000. A DRO can effectively write off a debt - contact us for more information on whether it would be right for your particular circumstances. We also have specialist advocacy and advice for employment issues within our employment service (see separate leaflet) and a gay male worker for issues relating to sexuality, homophobia etc. On occasions, our advocates, where appropriate, will provide support to you in getting the help you need from elsewhere, e.g. contacting solicitors, accessing specialist benefits advice. Specialist domestic violence/family advocacy This is a more intensive style advocacy than our general advocacy service, providing a variety of help around issues linked to domestic violence and family. Many people find it extremely difficult to manage their way around the maze of processes, procedures; to attend conferences and meetings linked to Child Protection and family matters; engage with the police and courts linked to domestic violence issues; and to make decisions and changes for the safety and wellbeing of themselves and their children. Specialist Intensive support advocacy can help in the following situations: For parents involved in child protection, or safeguarding procedure, requiring engagement with social services or other statutory agencies. For parents involved in meetings linked to the healthcare or education of children including TAF (team around the family), CAF (common assessment framework) and PEP (personal education plan). Domestic violence and sexual violence/abuse related issues including police/court, housing and safety orders and injunctions, legal appointments and divorce proceedings. Support and help to access specialist advice and information to resolve issues relating to finances and benefits.
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Advocacy logo Advocacy heading
An advocate is someone who can both listen to you and speak for you in times of need. If you have a mental health problem then you may find it difficult for your opinions or ideas to be taken seriously, or you are not offered what you would like, or that you find it difficult in dealing with official organisations or companies. Our advocates can help in a wide variety of situations, including: helping you express your views and concerns, helping you access information and services, making you and others aware of your rights, helping you explore options and choices. Our advocates are independent. This means they will be acting entirely in your interests as expressed by you to them and will work alongside you, on your instructions. In practice this might mean that one of our advocates will go with you to meetings, either to speak on your behalf or to be supportive (it would be agreed beforehand when it would be appropriate they would speak); they can write letters on your behalf; speak in person or on the phone on your behalf; help with filling in forms; or simply provide or find out the information you need. Advocacy can help with a wide range of issues, both within the mental health services and outside them. For example, meetings or appointments with doctors, social workers or other care/health workers; your rights under the Mental Health Act and other legislation: making complaints; help with filling in forms, benefits, housing; communicating with gas, electricity, phone companies etc, negotiating over the payment of bills, debt and financial advice. We are now also registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (recognition number 754680) to negotiate Debt Relief Orders (DRO) for individuals with debts of up to £20,000 with assets worth less than £1,000. A DRO can effectively write off a debt - contact us for more information on whether it would be right for your particular circumstances. We also have specialist advocacy and advice for employment issues within our employment service (see here) and a gay male worker for issues relating to sexuality, homophobia etc. Specialist domestic violence/family advocacy This is a more intensive style advocacy than our general advocacy service, providing a variety of help around issues linked to domestic violence and family. Many people find it extremely difficult to manage their way around the maze of processes, procedures; to attend conferences and meetings linked to Child Protection and family matters; engage with the police and courts linked to domestic violence issues; and to make decisions and changes for the safety and wellbeing of themselves and their children. Specialist Intensive support advocacy can help in the following situations: For parents involved in child protection, or safeguarding procedure, requiring engagement with social services or other statutory agencies. For parents involved in meetings linked to the healthcare or education of children including TAF (team around the family), CAF (common assessment framework) and PEP (personal education plan). Domestic violence and sexual violence/abuse related issues including police/court, housing and safety orders and injunctions, legal appointments and divorce proceedings. Support and help to access specialist advice and information to resolve issues relating to finances and benefits.
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