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Advocacy – someone to speak on your behalf

Everyone has the right to get support from another person to help express their views and wishes (for example, at a healthcare appointment). This person is called an advocate.

Advocates can be helpful if you:

  • find it difficult to make your views known
  • need other people to listen to you and take your views into account

What an advocate can do

An independent advocate can:

  • talk to you to find out what you want and how you feel
  • listen to you
  • find information to help you make choices
  • talk to other people or groups for you
  • help you say what you think about your health care or treatment

People who are covered by the Mental health (Care and Treatment)(Scotland) Act – who have a mental health issue, learning disability, autism or dementia – have a legal right to independent advocacy.

The role of the advocate is not restricted to mental health situations.

Finding an advocate

The Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance offers independent advocacy support to any vulnerable person. Call 0131 510 9410. You can also email


If you have a disability, you can get free advocacy help to apply for benefits in Scotland.

Call Social Security Scotland on 0800 182 2222. Ask them to refer you to their independent advocacy service.

The service helps disabled people to:

  • have their voice heard
  • express their views
  • feel understood


Carers UK offer a self-advocacy toolkit for carers, which gives advice on making your voice heard if you care for someone else.

You can call Carers UK on 01414453070 or email them at

There are other ways you can get support as a carer.

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