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
* 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:
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:
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;
I'll sign off now !