Under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment)
(Scotland) Act, people with learning disabilities and people with a
mental illness have a right to independent advocacy.
You do not have to be in hospital or under any mental health act
in order to get this right to independent advocacy.
This means that you should be able to have an independent advocate
and/or join an advocacy group if you want to.
What is independent advocacy?
Independent advocacy helps you to make your voice stronger and
to have as much control as possible over your life.
It is called independent because advocates and advocacy workers
are separate from services. They do not work for hospitals, social
work, or other services.
Why might I need independent advocacy?
Some people need support to speak up, to understand what is
being said, and to make decisions. Many people find that when they
feel ill or upset they are not as good at saying what they want and
they need support to speak up.
When might I need independent advocacy?
There are some times when it is especially important for you to
get advocacy support. These times may be when you are:
On an order which says that:
- you must stay in hospital
- you can only stay out of hospital on certain conditions
- you can be given treatment even if you do not want it
Your doctors, nurses, social workers, and mental health officers should make sure you
know about independent advocacy, and help you get it.