Collective Advocacy for People From Ethnic Minority Backgrounds who have lived experience of mental health issues
- Are you from an ethnic minority background?
- Do you live in Edinburgh?
- Have you used mental health services and/or have lived experience of mental health issues?
- Do you want to share experiences with others like you and work together to have your say about mental health services?
Get in touch with Mohasin firstname.lastname@example.org
What is Collective Advocacy?
Collective advocacy creates a safe space for people to get together, support each other to explore shared issues and to find common ground.
It supports people to speak up about their experiences, values, and expectations. It enables people to find a stronger voice, to campaign and influence the agendas and decisions that shape and affect their lives.
Collective advocacy can help planners, commissioners, service providers and researchers to know what is working well, where gaps are in services and how best to target resources. It helps legislators and policy makers to create opportunities for people to challenge discrimination and inequality and helps people learn to become more active citizens.
Independent Advocacy: Principles, Standards & Code of Best Practice, Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance
Why get involved?
“Collective Advocacy enables a peer group of people, as well as a wider community with shared interests, to represent their views, preferences and experiences”. Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance
What are the benefits of Collective Advocacy?
- Reducing feelings of isolation when raising a difficult issue
- Providing a stronger collective voice which is more difficult to ignore.
- Sharing your experiences and opinions- helping you to have your voice heard.
- Building skills and knowledge through LEARN and understanding your rights.
- Meeting likeminded people and finding solace in community.
Why is this group for people from ethnic minority backgrounds only?
People from ethnic minority backgrounds have their own unique experiences in the mental health system and have additional barriers and needs when it comes to accessing services and gaining support for their mental health.
We can experience racism and discrimination which contributes to poor mental health. We may also feel misunderstood by professionals due to our religion or cultural differences, and we may be unfairly treated due to this. This makes us lose trust in services and feel unable to access the help that we need.
There are also differences in mental health service access between ethnic groups in the UK, for example:
- Black people are more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act and are more likely to be in inpatient care than white people.
- People from ethnic minority backgrounds are less likely to go to their GP for their mental health and less likely to be prescribed anti-depressants or to be referred to a specialist.
We need to address these differences and talk about our own experiences so that we can improve access to services and dismantle the stigma in our communities.
What happens when I join?
As Collective Advocacy is all about you and your needs, your participation in the group is completely dependent on your own schedule.
Meetings will be held either monthly or fortnightly depending on the groups needs/ wants. The Collective Advocacy group is a safe space to chat, share ideas and plan action. You have complete freedom over your involvement and there is no formal commitment required.
How will I be supported?
The Collective Advocacy worker, Mohasin Ahmed, will facilitate the group to help you:
- Understand your rights.
- Find opportunities for you to contribute to improving services.
- Help you to raise issues and concerns surrounding your mental health (including treatment options, workplace discrimination etc.)
- Share your voice within the group and ensure your needs are being met within your involvement at CAPS.
What kind of things has CAPS done so far?
- We have developed LEARN which provides free mental health courses to anyone who works or lives in the NHS Lothian area. These are designed and delivered by people with lived experience of mental health issues and are used to educate others on their experiences and information about mental health issues.
- The Out of Sight Out of Mind project has successfully held art exhibitions since 2013 as part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival.
- Various Collective Advocacy groups have contributed to research within mental health disorders including research on men and eating disorders, contributed to by the Seen but not Heard project.