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 January 2015

Self Esteem Part two
Tuesday February 3rd 11am-1pm
Tara Logan-Shand shares her lived experience of building her own self esteem in the face of adversity, and gives practical advice on how to start from the bottom and work up to feeling good about yourself! This session is part two of the Self Esteem series but you do not need to have been to the first session.

How to Talk about Mental Health
Thursday 5th February 2-4pm
Today is Take Five, a Time to Change campaign to get people talking about mental health. Tara Logan-Shand will look at ways we can share our experiences without fear that we will be judged. Tara uses her own lived experience of explaining her mental health history to others.

I am Valuable, and I want the World to Know It!
Tuesday 10th February 11am-1pm
This is part three of the Self Esteem training, and in this session, Tara Logan-Shand discusses how to keep building your self-esteem as an on-going project. You do not need to have attended the previous sessions to benefit from this group

Returning to Work
Thursday 12th February 2-4pm
Tara Logan-Shand looks at how the fear of returning to work can hinder wellbeing, and what support can be given by the employer or voluntary agencies or the DWP. This session is designed to alleviate fear and anxiety for anyone who may be thinking of returning to work.

Helping Others to Help You
Tuesday 17th February 11am-1pm
People can have the best of intentions and may want to help you when you are in mental distress, but sometimes can make the situation worse, instead of better. Tara Logan-Shand has designed this session for friends and family to also attend if they want, and share concerns about how to help their friends and relatives.

Self Advocacy Reflective Session
Thursday 19th February 2-4pm
This is our monthly session where we discuss what has been run over the last month, and what was positive and what could be changed. We value the opinions of everybody who attends the groups and hope to get some new suggestions about future groups.

Priority Settings
Tuesday 24th February 11am-1pm
This session focuses on how we can create order and have some control over our lives, and look at what is important to us. Tara Logan-Shand will share ways to look at mind mapping techniques for prioritising.

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.

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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