Frequently Asked Questions

What is advocacy?

Advocacy gives a voice to people to make themselves heard. It is a process of supporting and enabling people to:

  • Express their views and concerns.
  • Access information and services.
  • Understand and promote their rights and responsibilities.
  • Explore choices and options
Who can access advocacy?

Advocacy Support Cymru delivers independent mental health advocacy within certain areas in Wales. If you are within a secondary care or community mental health setting within South Wales, you may be entitled to access our services.

For more information, visit Support we offer.

Why does it mean that you are independent?

Being independent means that we only represent the client.

We are not part of the NHS or any Health Boards and act independently of any hospital wards or community setting that you may be treated within.

We keep all information confidential and would only divulge any client information if there was a genuine perceived risk of harm to themselves or others.

What can an Advocate do for me?

An Advocate is a trained professional who provides advocacy support when you need it. An advocate might help you access information you need or go with you to meetings, in a supportive role. You may want your advocate to write letters on your behalf, or speak for you in situations where you don’t feel able to speak for yourself.

All client situations are different and an Advocate will work with you as required.

What can I expect to happen?

Once referred, you can expect to receive a response from your allocated advocate with 5 working days.

In certain circumstances, we have to operate a waiting list but you will be advised if one exists within your area on receipt of your referral.

How often will I see you? And for how long?

This depends entirely on your needs. Once you have been allocated an advocate and have had your initial meeting, you will agree between you when next to meet. This will depend on your anticipated length of stay (if in hospital) or planned treatment. If you have a forthcoming meeting or ward round that you would like support for, that requirement will also be taken into account and scheduled in.

At any one time, our Advocates will have a sizeable case load. This caseload will inevitably impact upon the time that they will be able to spend with you at any one session.

But they will always ensure that you have addressed all the questions or concerns that you may have (or make a plan as to when they will be).

Will you speak up for me in meetings when I might be nervous or not sure what to say?

Yes, that is one of the important functions that an Advocate will undertake if requested to by a client.

We will discuss with you before the meeting what you would like us to advocate for you on your behalf.

If I have family or friends to talk to, am I still able to access an Advocate?

Yes, if you are looking to access our IMHA or Community services then if you have family or friends available, you can still access these services.

Our IMCA service is available to support a person who lacks capacity and has no one to speak for him or her, such as family or friends (is ‘unbefriended’), or if family or friends are present but are considered “inappropriate”.

If you are unsure of your eligibility, call our team on 029 2054 0444.

How much will it cost me?

There is no cost to you as the client. We deliver our advocacy services through statutory contracts that are funded by the University Health Boards in Wales.

But we are independent of them and only act on the instruction and wishes of our clients.

Is there a legal entitlement to advocacy?

Under the Mental Capacity Act (2005) there is a statutory right to advocacy for those lacking capacity and “unbefriended” through the Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy Service (IMCA).

The Mental Health Act 1983 (2007 amendment) requires that every Health Board in Wales and England makes an IMHA service available for all Qualifying Patients that want it. In Wales the Mental Health Wales Measure (2010) has extended this requirement and expanded those who qualify for the service.

IMHA is a statutory role defined by these pieces of legislation. You do not have to access an IMHA if you choose not to but the service and availability is there for you.

How do I get in touch with you?

There are many ways to get in touch with us - you have made the first step by looking at our website.

To find out more, you could call us on 029 2054 0444 or email us info@ascymru.org.uk. Our Fax number is 029 20735620

You could send us a letter. Our postal address is:


Advocacy Support Cymru
Charterhouse 1, Links Business Park
Fortran Road
St Mellons
Cardiff
CF3 0LT

If you’re not sure about whether any of our services are for you or if you have any questions please do get in touch.

We’d be happy to hear from you.

We hope that these FAQ’s have proved useful. We expect that you may have other questions that haven’t been addressed so please don’t hesitate to call us on 029 2054 0444 and we will do our best to answer you.

Not sure which service is right for you?

Our Referral Pathway flowchart will help.

Click here to download