The importance of advocacy

The importance of advocacy

In this blog post we will explore why advocacy is so important, but first, we need to explore what advocacy actually is…

Every person will describe advocacy in their own way, some might have a technical definition based on legislation and codes of practice, self-advocates would describe it as the thing that got their voices heard. At Advocacy Focus, we like to describe advocacy as supporting somebody to speak up and be listened to, ensuring their views, wishes, and feelings are heard and taken seriously. Advocacy helps people become more involved in important decisions about their life and it can be a lifeline for many.

Advocates help people understand their rights, their options and support individuals to make an informed decision. We help people live the lives they want to live!

So why is this important, we hear you asking!

The recent exposure of the abuse occurring at the Edenfield Centre, a mental health hospital, hit the news in September 2022 after a Panorama show aired. This documentary saw patients being subjected to long seclusions, being victims of physical and emotional abuse amongst other abhorrent behaviour by the hospital staff. Advocacy exists to protect the rights of people and acts as an additional safeguard to patients. Advocates are by the persons side, on their side, we support people to understand their rights under their sections and helping amplify their voices and involvement in decisions made about their care and treatment.

Today marks the start of Advocacy Awareness Week, a campaign that this year is focusing on promoting Human Rights. Each day this week will promote a different Human Right, and today’s is the Right to Life. The Human Right that safeguards us from neglect or abuse in care settings, like those at Edenfield were subjected to.

Advocacy is of utmost importance to protect the rights of people who may otherwise be dismissed or ignored. Advocates are often the only independent support that people receive in some of the most challenging moments in their life – so we must continue to promote advocacy services all over the country. We often find that people in hospital are completely unaware of their rights and often feel lost, confused, and scared. Information and self-help tools can be a lifeline for people feeling out of control when it comes to their care and treatment. Today we want to promote our free toolkits so that people know they’re not alone and there is help available.

Mental Health Self Help Toolkits – Advocacy Focus

Sometimes tools are not enough, and that’s okay, Advocacy is here for you, by your side and on your side. If you need help finding your local advocacy service we can help, you are not alone.

Together, we can prevent more people from enduring the abuse and neglect.  Together, we can help people live the lives they want to live.

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