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 September 2014

Samaritans-Who are they and how they help | 2nd September | 11am-1pm
The Samaritans is an organisation providing support for people in mental distress. Find out about the help they provide 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

Self Esteem Part 1 | 4th September | 2-4pm
Anxiety affects all of us, some more than others. It can help motivate us to work harder or take action and protect ourselves. It can also interfere with day-to-day activities, confidence or physical wellbeing. Karen will look at ideas for how to live with anxiety and how to challenge those thoughts that create anxiety.

Why Train in Self Advocacy? | 9th September | 11am-1pm
Having a voice but not feeling confident to have your wants and needs met can be debilitating. Training in Self Advocacy will give you the tools you need to speak up and be heard. CoolTan Arts Self Advocacy Trainer Tara Logan-Shand explains why it is important to advocate for yourself, and supplies the tools to do it!

Self Esteem Part 2 | 11th September | 2-4pm
Join Karen Unrue again for part two of her self-esteem training. You don’t need to have attended part one, as Karen will bring you up to speed. Karen brings her passion and lived experience to the training, looking at ways to manage anxiety.

How to Lodge a Complaint | 16th September | 11am-1pm
Nobody likes to complain! But sometimes it is necessary to assert ourselves when we are not satisfied with a service. Tara Logan-Shand looks at ways to lodge an effective complaint.

Priority Setting | 18th September | 2-4pm
We all find it hard to prioritise tasks. Tara Logan-Shand will look at why we need to prioritise and the best way to go about making a plan to achieve our goals

Understanding How Medicines Work with Kalliopi Vallianatou (SLaM) | 23rd September | 11am-1pm
We are happy to welcome back Kalliopi Vallianatou, a pharmacist from the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, who will explain how medicine works and answer questions about the medication we take.

Self Advocacy Reflections | 25th September | 2-4pm
The Self Advocacy Team wants to make sure we are getting it right! These sessions provide an opportunity to share your thoughts on the course and choose new topics, identify guest speakers and think about additional elements to the course. By doing so, we aim to create the best course possible to ensure you develop the skills to make your voices be heard!

Gender Inequalities in Mental Health with Esther Craddock (SLaM) | 30th September | 11-1pm
Esther 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.

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:



logo template for advocacy_small

convert this post to pdf.

Sorry, you must Login or Register to post a comment.
Print This Page