Factsheet: Advocacy

This factsheet is available in a downloadable PDF here.

Table of Contents

What is Advocacy?
Individual Advocacy
Collective Advocacy
The Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003

What is Advocacy?

Advocacy is about having somebody to help you be heard, it is about having a greater say in decisions being made about you and your care and treatment.

An advocate:

  • Is there for you and nobody else
  • Helps you get information you need to make decisions
  • Speaks up for you and only says what you want
  • Helps you get your views over to others

Individual Advocacy

Individual Advocacy is about a person having somebody called an advocate to help them have more influence over decisions being made about their lives. For example, an advocate can help you prepare and go with you to a meeting about your treatment or support. Having your advocate can help you have a stronger voice.

How to decide which Individual Advocacy Organisation to use in Edinburgh?

There are five projects providing individual advocacy in Edinburgh. Here are some suggestions about how you can decide which is best for you.

Where are you?


Are you facing the possibility of compulsory treatment?


Are you supporting someone with a mental health problem?

Collective Advocacy

Collective Advocacy is about people with similar experiences getting together to try to change things for the better. For example, it can enable people to have influence on what kinds of services are available. By making use of their shared experiences, they can have a much stronger voice and be more influential than they can as individuals.

How to Choose which Collective Advocacy Project?

  • Contact CAPS for user involvement, consultation or setting up a user group
  • Community Voices focuses on community services, and the Patient’s Council on hospital services.
  • If you support someone who has a mental health problem and want to make your voice heard in relation to mental health services and support for carers, contact  Edinburgh Carers Council

The Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003

The Act gives people who experience mental health difficulties the right to access independent advocacy services. This applies to both individual and collective advocacy.

Related Services

Below are links to Services in the Edspace database that may be of interest:

External websites related to Advocacy

These web sites may be useful. Please note that we are not responsible for external sites; if you find any broken links or inappropriate content please report it to the site administrators using the feedback page.

  • Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance
    The Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance promotes, supports and defends the principles and practice of independent advocacy across Scotland.Their website contains a directory of all advocacy services in Scotland plus lots of information about independent advocacy.
  • VOX (Voices of eXperience)
    VOX (Voices of eXperience) are a Scottish national mental health service user led organisation. VOX works in partnership with mental health and related services.

Search Factsheets

sign up for our newsletter