AdvoCard Community Collective Advocacy – August Newsletter

(If you’d like to receive the newsletter by email, please email [email protected])

In the newsletter this month:  

We’re getting started with Online Edinburgh Community Voices Meetings.  

We have extended the deadline for our survey into the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and what you need from services – thank you to everyone who’s responded so far. We’d love to hear from more people so we can best represent the views of people with lived experience of mental health issues in Edinburgh. Please get your responses to us by Sunday 16th August

We have an update on the Scottish Mental Health Law Review.

The Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership have a Survey out.

Information about all of these is below, plus information about our A&E | All & Equal project and the Emergency Card.

Edinburgh Community Voices – Online Meetings

We’re still not able to hold face to face group meetings because of the current restrictions.  However, we are able to hold online Edinburgh Community Voices meetings and would like to hold the first meeting this month.  We haven’t set a date for the meeting yet because we want to find a day/time that suits you.  If you have any questions, we’d be happy to answer them.  If you’d like to take part, please contact Becky (0131 554 5307, [email protected]).   


We know that not everybody is able to take part in online meetings.  If you would find it difficult to take part in an online meeting, but would still like to be involved in Edinburgh Community Voices in some way, let us know (contact Becky as above). For instance, we could have a chat on the phone and get your views that way.  

What do you need? – Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Restrictions

We are aware that many people are facing extra challenges and difficulties just now with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the restrictions and everything else that is going on. Although some of the restrictions have been lifted, there are still some things that you are not able to do, and many services are still not operating in the way that they were before.

At a time like this, it is even more important than usual that the views of people in Edinburgh with lived experience of mental health issues are represented and heard when services and support are being planned.

We want to hear from you about:

  • how you have been affected by the situation
  • what you need – for your mental and physical health, and for your wellbeing
  • whether or not there are accessible services and support in place that meet your needs.  

We would also like to hear if there is anything happening now that you would like to see continue in the future.  And we would like to hear if you have any ideas for changes that could be made that would improve life for people with mental health issues in Edinburgh just now.

You can respond to our questions in a variety of ways, including an online questionnaire, by email and by post.  

For more information please go to – http://www.advocard.org.uk/2020/05/what-do-you-need/  Or you can email [email protected], or ring 0131 554 5307 and ask for Becky. (Becky is working from home just now, but will call you back.)
Please return your completed questionnaire by Sunday 16th August.

Please share this with anyone you think may be interested.

What will we do with what you tell us?

We will put together a summary of the responses and put this up on our website – www.advocard.org.uk.  

We will also pass your views onto service planners and providers.  

The Scottish Government Equalities and Human Rights Committee have launched an inquiry into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on equalities and human rights – we will be submitting a response to this inquiry and will include your views in our response.

Scottish Mental Health Law Review 

One of our collective advocacy workers, Becky Leach, is taking part in the Capacity and Supported Decision Making Advisory Group of the Scottish Mental Health Law Review. Please feel free to get in touch with Becky if you’d like to hear more about what she’s doing (0131 554 5307, [email protected]).

The summary of the responses to the recent Scottish Mental Health Law Review consultation was published in July. You can see them here – https://cms.mentalhealthlawreview.scot/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Summary-of-Responses-to-the-Consultation-for-the-Scottish-Mental-Health-Law-Review.pdf

There’s more about what’s happening with the Scottish Mental Health Law Review, and the Advisory Groups, in the latest newsletter here – https://www.mentalhealthlawreview.scot/workstreams/smhlr-newsletter-july/

Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership – Survey

The Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership are carrying out a survey.  We have put more information, which we have been sent, below.  The deadline is soon and it’s only accessible online.  However, if you would find it difficult to fill in the survey online, or if you would like some more time, we would be happy to pass on your views to the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership separately (contact Becky – 0131 554 5307, [email protected]). 

If you would like to discuss Health and Social Care in Edinburgh, what’s important to you and what you’d like to tell the Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership, at our upcoming Edinburgh Community Voices online meeting, then that’s something you can do as well.  

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The Edinburgh Pact

 The Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership, responsible for delivering community and bed-based health and social care services for adults in Edinburgh, want to build thriving communities in Edinburgh and embrace the opportunity to create a different type of relationship with residents, communities and organisations across the city.

 It’s why they are starting a conversation to build the Edinburgh Pact. The Edinburgh Pact will be an agreement between the Partnership and everyone who lives and works in Edinburgh. And the first step is to listen and learn what health and social care means to you.

How can I get involved?  

The Partnership want to hear from everyone in their short survey – from dedicated groups of volunteers and people using health and social care services, to people providing key services across the City and our committed Third Sector colleagues. 

 Please take a few minutes and let us know what health and social care means to you so that we can make sure it’s a service created by the community, for the community in Edinburgh. The survey closes on 12 August and is a designed to be an open and accessible to everyone.   – https://consultationhub.edinburgh.gov.uk/hsc/edinburgh-pact/

 You can also find more information on the EHSCP website – https://www.edinburghhsc.scot/the-partnership/the-edinburgh-pact/

A&E | All & Equal – Emergency Card

Would you like to have an Emergency Card?

An Emergency Card can help you get across your needs and wishes to the nurses, doctors and other staff if you ever need to go to the Emergency Department (A&E).

On the card there is space for you to write three things that you would want staff to know and three things that matter to you about your care. You can fill in the card by yourself or with help from somebody else. It can be folded to credit card size so that it can fit in your wallet and be there if you need to use it.

The Emergency Card was created for people with lived experience of mental health issues. However, it doesn’t say anything about mental health on it, you don’t have to write anything about your mental health on it and anyone can use it.

We have put together some guidance to help you decide if you would like to have an Emergency Card and to give you some ideas for things to include. If you would like an Emergency Card and a copy of the guidance, or have any questions, please contact Becky –   0131 554 5307, [email protected]

Background to the Emergency Card

 In 2015 – 2016 we ran a peer research project called A&E | All & Equal where we heard from people with lived experience of mental health issues about experiences they had had at the Emergency Departments at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (RIE) and St John’s Hospital, Livingston. One of the issues that came up was that when you’re in distress or are feeling anxious, it can be difficult to communicate with the staff in the Emergency Department, for instance if you have any wishes, needs or other information that you want staff to listen to and take into account. We developed the Emergency Card together with people with lived experience of mental health issues, the Emergency Department (A&E) at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and the Navigator Project.