Factsheet: Advocacy

This factsheet is available in a downloadable PDF here.

Table of Contents

What is Advocacy?

Individual Advocacy
Collective Advocacy
The Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Scotland) Act 2003

What is Advocacy?

Advocacy is about having somebody to help you be heard, it is about having a greater say in decisions being made about you and your care and treatment.

 An advocate:

  • Is there for you and nobody else
  • Helps you get information you need to make decisions
  • Speaks up for you and only says what you want
  • Helps you get your views over to others

Individual Advocacy

Individual Advocacy is about a person having somebody called an advocate to help them have more influence over decisions being made about their lives. For example, an advocate can help you prepare and go with you to a meeting about your treatment or support. Having your advocate can help you have a stronger voice.

How to Decide which Individual Advocacy Organisation to use in Midlothian

There are three projects providing individual advocacy in Midlothian. Here are some suggestions about how you can decide which is best for you.

Where are you?

  • If you are in hospital, you should contact  CAPS Individual Advocacy
  • If you are living in the community you should contact  CAPS Individual Advocacy
  • If you are living in the community and have dementia or know someone who has dementia, you should contact  EARS

Are you Facing the Possibility of Compulsory Treatment?

Are you Supporting Someone with a Mental Health Problem?

  • You should contact VOCAL Collective Advocacy

Collective Advocacy

Collective Advocacy is about people with similar experiences getting together to try to change things for the better. For example, it can enable people to have influence on what kinds of services are available. By making use of their shared experiences, they can have a much stronger voice and be more influential than they can as individuals.

How to Choose which Collective Advocacy Project

  • For help with user involvement, consultation or setting up a user group, contact CAPS Collective Advocacy
  • If you are interested in joining a service user group (SUM), you can join SUM and/or the Patient’s Council. SUM focuses on community services, and the Patient’s Council on hospital services
  • If you support someone who has a mental health problem and want to make your voice heard in relation to mental health services and support for carers, contact VOCAL

The Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003

The Act gives people who experience mental health difficulties the right to access independent advocacy services. This applies to both individual and collective advocacy.

Related Services

Below are links to Services in the Edspace database that may be of interest:

External websites related to Advocacy

These web sites may be useful. Please note that we are not responsible for external sites; if you find any broken links or inappropriate content please report it to the site administrators using the feedback page.

  • Edinburgh Carers Council

    Edinburgh Carers Council aims to make sure the views of carers are included at all stages in the development of mental health services.  They offer collective advocacy to make sure this is done. 

    We also provide information to carers through having courses on a variety of topics.  These range from one day to six week courses.

  • CAPS Advocacy
  • VOCAL – The voice of carers across Lothian
    VOCAL provides advocacy, support and information to carers. They also have a free and confidential counselling services for carers. The project is for all carers, including mental health carers.
  • Advocard
    Advocard provides advocacy to individuals who are experiencing or have experienced mental ill health and who live in the community in Edinburgh. This means they support people to be heard to have a greater say in decisions made about their lives and their care and treatment.
  • NHS Lothian Site
    NHS Lothian Website

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