Your rights and accessing support
Here is a quick and easy guide from the Scottish Association of Mental Health (SAMH) to understand your rights – Know your rights
For more detailed information, please go to the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland website where you can learn about the Scottish Mental Health Act and the rights of those affected by mental health difficulties and associated conditions – www.mwcscot.org.uk
SAMH has a resource about the importance of options and information when accessing treatment and support. This includes an easy guide on how to prepare for appointments and what questions to ask – Treatment and support: the importance of options and information
Advocacy is a way to help you have more influence and control over your own life. It means support from another person to help you express your views and needs, and stand up for your rights. Someone who helps you in this way is called an ‘advocate’ or an ‘advocacy worker’.
An advocate will work with you on a one-to-one basis. They will listen and discuss options on how they may be able to help. An advocate will not advise you on what to do but will ensure that you have the information you need to know your rights to make an informed decision. An advocate/advocacy worker is never judgemental and will only act on your behalf if you have given them permission to do so.
Advocacy is not a befriending, mediation or counselling service. Advocates do not provide practical support. Everyone will be treated with respect and with full confidentiality (exceptions to this policy are allowed if the advocates feel that the individual or any other person is at risk of serious harm). Whilst it cannot always guarantee the outcome, it will ensure people are listened to.
Advocates provide support with:
• attending medical appointments or reviews
• speaking to people involved in people’s care and treatment
• help to find information about and help to access services
• financial matters
• attending appointments for housing
• helping people know your rights, for example, if you are detained in hospital