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.

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. 

Upcoming sessions include How to Develop Your Self Esteem, Coping with Panic Attacks, Understanding how Medicines Work, Looking at Gender in Mental Health and Understanding the Mental Health Act.

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  megaphone

Skills for a stronger voice

Schedule for August 2014
Team Offering People Advice and Support (TOPAZ)|5th August| 11am-1pm
TOPAZ is a team of social workers, occupational therapists and community workers who support the people of Lambeth with a wide variety of services, including counselling, benefits advice, housing support and day services. Come along and see what TOPAZ can mean for you!

Dealing with Professionals-how to make the system work for you!|7th August| 2pm-4pm
Ever felt frustrated with your care coordinator or social worker? Find official meetings make you anxious? Tara Logan-Shand will work through ways to support you to gain confidence to speak up in meetings and have your view heard

Benefits Advice with Kamal Patel from the Department of Work and Pensions|12th August| 11am-1pm
Kamal Patel is on hand to explain how the benefits system works and to answer any questions you may have about your entitlement to state benefits

Ways to Work Towards Wellbeing|14th August| 2pm-4pm
Wellbeing is about living in a way that is good for you and for those around you. In this session we’ll be looking at the various ways to improve your physical and mental wellbeing, discussing food and mood, exercise, connecting with others and creativity. Find out what works for you!

Schedule for October 2014

2nd October| 2-4pm – How can I value myself when society tells me I’m worthless

7th October| 11am-1pm – Understanding P.I.P

9th October| 2 – 4pm – Panic Attacks

14th October| 11am – 1pm – The Mental Health Act

16th October| 2-4pm – Priority Setting

21st October| 11am-1pm – Managing Anxiety part 1

23rd October| 2-4pm – Managing Anxiety part 2

28th October|11am-1pm – Self-Advocacy Reflections

30th October| 2-4pm – Guest Speaker

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

and Sunil Chauhan
Self Advocacy Project Administrator

tel: 020 7701 2696
mobile: 0798 565 8443

Important external events you should know about:

Mindapples free training for mental health service users
Mindapples is offering local users of mental health services an opportunity to take their course on wellbeing, mental effectiveness and resilience. This training hasn’t previously been available to the public so this is a great opportunity to get some free support, have fun and help Mindapples improve their services all at the same time.

The training is free so all you need to do is commit to coming to eight one hour group sessions, one per week, in central London, and also fill in three questionnaires to help the University of York evaluate the programme (you’ll get a £10 high street voucher for each one). Some support may possibly be available for travel expenses.There is a course starting in October/November.

For more information see, and you can watch this talk to get a flavour of the training:

Sign up here now: or email to register your interest.

For more upcoming events, visit this website:



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