1.2 There are several types of advocates, of which include an Independent Professional, a Peer or Collective and a Citizen. An Independent Professional Advocate is a designated person assigned to represent the client and ensure their views are put forward and listened to. This Advocate could be a paid worker or a Volunteer, and some advocates are legally trained or medically qualified in their job role. They are all part of the Advocacy team and will work as effectively as each other. They should all, nonetheless, have knowledge of the basic legal framework and understand the provisions for mental health. The Citizen Advocate usually works on a voluntary basis and can be from the area in which the client actually lives. They usually work with the client over a long period of time, building up a relationship, supporting them and hopefully enabling them to eventually speak up for themselves and taking a bigger part in life again. The Peer/Collective Advocacy is a group of people all gathered together, usually due to the fact that they all share the same problems and have similar issues and wish to have their opinions heard. They may all come from a support group or all have the same shared views on a particular subject.
“An Advocate is someone who can both listen to you and speak for you in times of need”. As cited 4th July 2013. http://www.mind.org.uk/mentalhealth_a-z/8040_advocacy_in_mental_health All types of Advocacy can be invaluable, helping people feel empowered, listened to, and respected. For some it gives them the support, and help with information they need to make decisions about treatment and possible care of other family members. It can also be a means of expression, having their views and opinions heard by the right people and/or also giving them the opportunity to have someone speak for them if they are unable to do so. An advocate helps a vulnerable client to gain the strength to feel more confident and secure to eventually explore the given choices and options available to them by accessing information and services that are relevant to the clients needs. They will accompany a client to meetings and/or interviews if deemed appropriate and can write letters and/or emails and make telephone calls for the client. They can help the client with benefit claims, housing application, looking for employment and/or education and can help with complaints procedures if the client is not happy with a service they have or are receiving. An advocate will remain non-judgemental at all times and will never offer his or her personal opinions or ideas etc... to the client. They will remain respectful of their beliefs and way of life and whilst adhering to their own works policy on maintaining confidentiality they will keep the personal information and details of a client private.
“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