Self Advocacy

What is Self-Advocacy?

“Self Advocacy helped me learn what I needed to know to appeal and win against ATOS”

Have you experienced mental distress? Used mental health services? Not been listened to?

Self Advocacy (SA) is a FREE series of classes and talks teaching the skills you need to have a stronger voice in situations where you previously weren’t listened to, were discriminated against, or found barriers stopping you from accessing information or services.

Self Advocacy

It’s an award-winning training course (we won the prestigious Best Practice Award in Peer Support Development from the Mental Health Providers Forum for training that empowered people to be more confident in asserting themselves and supporting others) that provides an informal but structured environment where you can meet others with similar experiences and together learn strategies to cope with challenging issues, behaviours or situations, and learn how to improve your general wellbeing.

Self Advocacy workshops take place on Tuesdays from 11am to 1pm and Thursdays from 2pm to 4pm.

All sessions are free for everyone regardless of a personal budget. 

What our previous participants say:

“Lack of confidence is one of the biggest disadvantages for disabled people and building it up is very important. It’s why I started self advocacy. It led on to a lot of things for me like music, creative writing and poetry, which I didn’t realise I could do until I did self advocacy. It’s been a stepping stone. It gave me the confidence and information to tackle my housing problem and certain access needs. Self advocacy can give you the confidence to know when to self advocate and when you need outside support.”

Get yourself heard, listened to, and your views acted upon!
Places are still available – core training places are free and available for people from across London, and beyond! Please contact us as there is no fixed joining date, we’ll advise on the most appropriate date to take up the training.

Self-Advocacy Skills Training –  megaphoneSkills for a stronger voice 

Schedule for February 2015

Working on Winning an ATOS Appeal
Thursday 26th February 2-4pm
ATOS appeals are intimidating and at times, do not take mental health into account. Tara Logan-Shand has extensive experience of supporting people to win their appeals, and this session will focus on how to win tribunals and deal with assessments.

Schedule for March 2015

Assertiveness Training
Tuesday 3rd March 11-1pm
For this session we will be joined by Community Catalyst who will be discussing asserting our needs and how we can deal with different organisations, officials and services to ensure our needs are met.

Your Care-Plan, Your Rights
Thursday 5th March 2-4pm
For people on a care plan, this is an important session, as many feel that their needs are not addressed in Care Program Approach meetings and they have a poor relationship with their care coordinator. Tara Logan-Shand will give tips and advice on how to achieve what you need from statutory services

Stress Management
Tuesday 10th March 11am-1pm
Stressful situations can be debilitating. We all need to learn how to deal with stress management, and this session will look at triggers and self-management. Tara Logan-Shand will look at practical methods for dealing with stress and the triggers of stress.

Managing Anxiety
Thursday 12th March 2-4pm
Anxiety management will focus on how to identify our triggers of anxious thought, how to manage the symptoms and how we can try and prevent anxiety attacks. Tara Logan-Shand uses lived experience to show that anxiety can be managed, but it takes practice!

Caring for Carers
Tuesday 17th March 11-1pm
Southwark Carers will be joining us for this session, which will focus on how to support those who have a caring role. It can be very stressful to care for others, and often the people who are in this role are overlooked. This session will look at ways to care for yourself as a carer.

Crime and Mental Health
Thursday 19th March 2-4pm
With so much in the media about people with mental health needs being poorly treated by the police, we wanted to run a session where the local police attend so Self Advocacy can ask questions about policies and what training they have when dealing with somebody with mental distress.

Self Advocacy Reflections
Tuesday 24th March 11-1pm
This is our monthly session where we discuss what we can run in the future, and what we are doing well. Please make time for this session, as it is important that we are able to gage opinion on the course.

Why Train in Self-Advocacy?
Thursday 26th March 2-4pm
For some this will be a refresher on the principals of Self Advocacy, and for others it will be a great reference as to why we run the course and how important it is to be able to speak up for your own rights!

Gender Inequalities in Mental Health
Tuesday 31st March 11-1pm
Esther Craddock from SLaM will join us to discuss how gender is viewed in mental health. We will be discussing how stereotypes have been created and look at ways to break down stigma.

Self Advocacy will be running a 6 week program for participants who have attended 5 or more sessions and would like to be part of a group who will develop skills to co-facilitate, lead and train others in self advocacy!
The new course will focus upon key skills, such as planning a session, group dynamics, presentations and public speaking.

The benefits of this course;
• Gain skills for employment
• Develop your confidence
• Learn how to plan and present
• Understand how a group runs
We hope to start the course at the beginning of November every Wednesday from 11-1pm. Speak to Kaya or Tara for more information!
You will need to commit to signing up for this 6 week course.

Additional training dates may be added, please check the website for possible changes.

All workshops are based at CoolTan Arts unless specified. Please check in advance with us – thank you.

For more details, please call 020 77012696/0798 565 8443 or email

If the individual is with a CMHT then we require that the Care Coordinator fills in a referral form and sends it to Karen Unrue

CoolTan’s Self Advocacy team are:

Kaya Volke Acting Advocacy Training Coordinator

Tara Logan-Shand Self Advocacy Trainer

tel: 020 7701 2696
mobile: 0798 565 8443




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