Why and how to find a health advocate
Coaching is a professional helping relationship that focuses on:
- Who you are
- What you want and need that connects to who you are
- Plans for obtaining your desired outcomes
- Hacks, tweaks and doable actions to move you towards your desired outcomes
As such, to get the most value and positive impact from any coaching, it helps to start coaching on the firmest foot possible.
That is to say, the efficacy and enjoyment of coaching can be boosted by having a decent foundation for it.
Coaching can be much more impactful if your basic needs are met, and you have in place any medical/professional support you need for both your mental and your physical health.
When a potential client comes to me, I always go through a consultation process with them.
In the consult(s), we talk about
- Current wellbeing
- Any active mental health conditions or trauma
- Any other conditions or life factors which could suggest that…
…something or someone else may be beneficial before or alongside my coaching.
In such cases, I will offer to make a referral to or give you information about the other practitioner or service that you may want to link up with first. That could be a therapist or clinical psychologist. It might be some kind of somatic practitioner. It may also be – and this is the subject of this post – a health advocate or health advocacy service.
So what is a health advocate and how do you get one?
According to the NHS, a health advocate can act as a spokesperson for you. They can help you to:
- Understand your care
- Understand any support processes
- Understand and make decisions
- Challenge any decision about your care if you do not agree
- Stand up for your rights
The NHS explains that health advocates can attend meetings with you but they can also write letters for you. They are allowed to attend any assessments, care and support planning appointments, and any safeguarding or review meetings.
One way to get a health advocate is to make contact with social services via your local council. You need to ask social services about being put in touch with advocacy services. If you do not want to access advocacy through social services, there are other options.
There are also are a number of charities or not-for-profit organisations who can offer health advocacy services. Below are the details for a few that seem to be well-established and oft-recommended.
PohWER – powher.net
PohWER is a charity that provides advice, support and advocacy to people who experience disability, vulnerability, social exclusion and distress.
PohWER are able to support with mental health advocacy, mental health care support, and NHS complaints.
You can get in touch with PohWER via their referral page.
VoiceAbility provide advocacy services so that people are heard in decisions about their health, care and wellbeing.
They can also help with mental health care, health assessments, and NHS complaints.
To get help from the service, contact them here.
Advocacy Project help people to speak up and make decisions about their health, wellbeing and social care.
They offer independent and free services for anyone receiving support, and you can contact them here.
This organisation seems quite London-focused.
There you have it…as well as the option of support from your council’s social services, you also have the contact details for several organisations who could also help you with getting and using a health advocate’s support.
If you feel that you would benefit from this kind of support in making sure that your physical and mental health needs are met before any coaching commences, I would recommend reaching out via the contact forms.
Best wishes and good luck!