Collective Advocacy

Collective Advocacy in the Community

As well as collective advocacy at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, AdvoCard provides independent collective advocacy in the community for people with lived experience of mental health issues and people with lived experience of problematic substance use.

Problematic Substance Use Collective Advocacy

AdvoCard facilitates a collective advocacy group for those with lived experience of problematic substance use (alcohol and drugs).  A collective voice can be stronger for campaigning and letting service providers and policy makers know what positive changes can be made.  And you could help make the journey better for everyone.

Meetings happen regularly and to find out how you can get involved contact: John Muirhead, Collective Advocacy Development Worker
[email protected] | 07884 741 686

Mental Health Community Collective Advocacy

What do we do in Edinburgh?

  • Organise and facilitate service user meetings, support service users or get their views heard at strategic meetings.
  • Work with service user groups such as Community Voices and SEASONS.
  • Inform people of changes, new policies and consultations. Make policy, strategic documents and information accessible to service user groups and assist them to get involved in consultation.
  • Help people to understand what the effects of mental health policy and planning are for them
  • Help to create new campaigning groups and offer existing ones support to campaign, have a say and identify gaps in services
  • Build effective partnerships between service users and professionals.
  • Run issue-based and user-led research projects to gather views and experiences. Write reports and lobby at local and government level.
  • Build effective partnerships between service users and professionals.

Why involve service users?

People who use mental health services are experts. Service users are in the best position to say what they need from services, what services are really like, where the gaps are and whether services can be improved.

Service users often view services differently from the way they are viewed by health professionals, service providers and planners. Service users often place value and importance on different aspects of services.

Service users can and should be involved in:

  • the planning of services – deciding what kinds of services are needed, what outcomes services should aim for, where services should be and how service should operate to best meet the needs of service users;
  • the delivery of services – being actively involved in management decisions for services, as members of management committees, and as decision-makers in the recruitment of staff and the tendering of contracts;
  • the evaluation and monitoring of services – deciding the outcomes that will show whether the service is achieving its aims; interviewing services users about their experience of services; analysing information gathered about services.

How to get involved and have a say?

  • Attend an existing group
  • Start a group
  • Join a campaign
  • Start a campaign
  • Respond to consultations
  • Network with other groups
  • Take part in information and campaigning events

Service user meetings

AdvoCard facilitates a collective advocacy group, Community Voices, which normally meets on the first Wednesday of the month.  For details of the time and venue, please contact [email protected].  There is no set agenda. People decide what issues they want to discuss.

Stay informed

AdvoCard produces a monthly newsletter with information on the latest developments, campaigns, consultations and events going on in Edinburgh. To subscribe, please contact Becky or Patricia at [email protected]

You can also get the latest mental health news on Facebook at and Twitter at

Community Voices have a Facebook page at