Do you need an advocate ?

Do you need an advocate ?

Hello Everyone,

Yesterday at our Andover group meeting we had a lady guest speaker who spoke about the role of the advocate and afterwards all of the group gave feedback that it was very informative & helpful.

I know we have touched on Advocacy before but I wanted to blog to mention that if you have a branch of the charity MIND near you, they may have this service for your area.

This is an explanation of MIND Advocacy service taken from the website link given:

'For people who already experience discrimination and exclusion on the basis of their ethnic or cultural background, physical disability, gender, sexuality or age, having a mental health problem creates another barrier to social inclusion. It can make voicing opinions, wants and needs almost impossible.

Advocacy is a process of supporting and enabling people to:

* express their views and concerns

* access information and services

* defend and promote their rights and responsibilities

* explore choices and options

* An advocate might help you access information you need, or go with you to meetings or

interviews, in a supportive role. In some cases, you might want your advocate to be more

active.

* An advocate might write letters on your behalf, or speak for you in situations where you

don’t feel able to speak for yourself.

Friends, family and mental health professionals can all be supportive and helpful, but this may be difficult for them if you are doing things they disagree with, even though it’s what you want. Health and social services staff have a ‘duty of care’ to the people they work with, which means that they can’t support you in doing things that they think will be bad for you. But an advocate is independent, and will represent your wishes without judging them or putting forward their own personal opinion '

For further information on 'How an advocate can help' please visit this link:

mind.org.uk/mental_health_a...

Before I have spoken about personally using this service for completing Benefit Forms when I, myself was bedbound, however the service is far more supportive than I had realised.

I, especially was interested to hear that if you need help with benefit forms which leads on to interviews/meetings that if necessary a representative from the advocacy service (that has been helping you) can come to support you at the meetings. They will write down the details of the meeting, they can speak for you if you become to ill, anxious or upset and can prompt you if you forget to mention a point that they think it is relevant for the examiner to know (should you forget, yes Fibro Fog again !)

I felt I should mention this as I know some of you may need this kind of support, help as I certainly did when I felt too poorly to fight my illness and reading & complete those forms seemed like an endless ream of paperwork. Please maybe consider this as a option if you feel you are struggling as it may be the support you need at this time.

So, why not find out if you have a branch of MIND near you and the contact for the Advocacy department. You can do this from the website link below:

mind.org.uk/search?q=advocacy

If you scroll through you will be able to read about different branches and click on them for the contact details.

I believe many can benefit from this, so if you decide to use the service or have used this kind of service then please let us know how it has helped you.

For more information on benefits & other organisations that can be of help, please visit the FibroAction website link below;

fibroaction.org/Pages/Benef...

I'll sign off now !

Emma

10 Replies

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  • Hi Em, I didnt know Mind did this service. But I did know and have used something very similar for my son during his battle with Liver and Bowel Diseace. They are called DIAL, They are due out to our house next Tuesday to fill in my sons DLA Forms. I have found them very helpful. Im in south Yorkshire, they are doing a home visit.

    Thanks for the info though, i'm giving it a go with DLA when my forms arrive, If DIAL are busy, which they do have a long waiting list I can try MIND.

    Thank you

    Shelley

  • How useful! Thanks for bringing this up xgins

  • HI i have been looking for an advocate for months with no sucess.I tried MIND but they didn't do advocacy and I can't find one anywhere else.I'll have to try DIAL

  • Thank you for this, I for one find filling forms in almost too overwhelming to cope with. I had help when applying for DLA and ended up having to go to the CAB when the dreaded ESA firm dropped with a mighty thud through the door.

    I will certainly be looking into it more as I have only another fortnight to decide whether to go to appeal as I've been put in the WRAG , the person I spoke to at my jobcentre was amazingly kind and assured me that from our meeting there was no way she would be looking at putting me into any form of work related stuff as things stand, and as I find things so hard I had almost come to the conclusion that hat was what I would do, but having read your post I may try reassess my course of action.

    Many thanks. Foggy

  • Please go for the appeal. It will be obvious to any lay man if you produce reports from gp and consultants. My gp told them that I might possibly be able to do a low stress desk job but I would only be able to work twenty minutes a time and then twenty minutes break, who is going to employ and pay me for JH having a twenty min break every twenty minutes. I did receive full esa with no shouting.

    Good luck x

  • This is very helpful. I badly need an advocate as I have a long history of mental illness with a bipolar diagnosis as well as depression and anxiety. I tried to get one to help with my ESA claim but the place I called (the local hospital advocacy service) just told me to go to DIAL. A woman from there came out quickly and filled my form out for me but I found I didn't like the way she works. I thought she was slapdash and not very knowledgable about my issues and she made me feel like I was wasting her time. I had this confirmed on Thursday when I spoke to her on the phone. I'd asked if she would be able to come to the medical with me as my old mum isn't up to it and she said if she did that she'd never get any work done. I thought her manner was off as I was in a right state (asking for help is traumatic for me and so is using the phone). She was going to help with my DLA claim but now I don't want to see her again. Clearly her job is simply to fill forms out (by the way she wouldn't sign to say she filled it in and I think she should have). Anyway I'm going to get my Mum to help me call the local Mind place on Monday. Trouble is it's quite far away and I don't know if they'd come out this far...

  • Can where absolutely brill for me. They filled in my forms advised me photo copied evidence and they posted them. I received all I applied for. CAB are very qualified caring people.

    Xx

  • Darn it! I was intending to come to the meeting on Friday, but I didn't feel up to it.

    Cheers, midori

  • Don't worry Midori

    Are you on Facebook group page ? , as all the information is on there.

    If not email me and I'll send you out some information & the minutes from meeting plus the newsletter if you like.

    Hope you are well & we may see you next month :)

    Emma

  • Thank you the information you supplied was very informative.

    Do you think they can help with chair lifts for stairs and AIDS to help around the house or even suggestions please.

    Thank you x hugs

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