August 2022
Welcome to the CAPS Independent Advocacy newsletter, read on to find out about Independent Advocacy and human rights and about how CAPS is responding to plans for changes to mental health law in Scotland. There are also upcoming events and more!
Independent Advocacy and human rights

Lothian’s independent advocacy providers met in August and heard from Mhairi Snowden of Human Rights Consortium Scotland. Mhairi outlined how planned changes to human rights law in the UK could make it more difficult for people to claim their rights. She also spoke about human rights and the law in Scotland.

People’s human rights may be violated and their voices ignored if there is an imbalance of power. And Independent Advocacy is all about addressing imbalances of power and enabling people’s voices to be heard. Independent Advocacy workers are human rights defenders. Read more.

Changes to mental health laws

Changes to mental health laws in Scotland could be on the way. The Scottish Mental Health Law Review has been consulting since 2021 with a view to updating laws that affect people with mental health issues in Scotland. The review has asked questions about compulsory detention and care and treatment and CAPS has worked with a group of people to make a response. The final round of consultation concerned Independent Advocacy. It is particularly vital that the correct definition of Independent Advocacy is preserved. Read more.

10th anniversary of Out of Sight Out of Mind exhibition

The Out of Sight Out of Mind exhibition (OOSOOM) is an annual multi-media exhibition at Summerhall in Edinburgh which shows artworks made by people who have lived experience of mental health issues. The exhibition is organised by a Planning Group, facilitated by CAPS Independent Advocacy. Here’s what the Planning Group say about the exhibition:

A gallery view of art work in the Out of Sight Out of Mind exhibition

‘It comes from the idea of people being ‘out of sight out of mind’ and people persisting to be seen and heard. There is still a strong element of defiance in it, it can take a lot to act when self-assurance is lacking. Over time, the exhibition has found a more comfortable place within itself, and it stands proud and holds up high whatever is expressed, be it anger or joy, or whatever else.’  Read more.

Gathering Peer Voices 2022

An event for Edinburgh’s peer workers and volunteers and all people interested in mental health, recovery and lived experience. As well as conversations on peer practice in Edinburgh there will be fun games, activities and a party bag to help get the afternoon flowing! And refreshments will be provided. The event is free to attend and takes place on 14th September 2022 from 2pm to 4.30pm at Augustine United Church, 41 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1EL. Book here

What is peer work? Peer workers use their own lived experience of mental health issues in an intentional way to benefit others. Peer work can be paid or voluntary. At CAPS, peer volunteers take part in Collective Advocacy projects where they share their lived experience to raise and challenge issues and work to bring about change.

Peer survey

The Peer Forum— a protected space for people who work or volunteer in a peer way in Edinburgh— have created a survey to explore people’s experiences as peer workers in Edinburgh. The survey aims to explore what is good within peer work, what needs further improvement and what might be causing people to move on from peer working roles. The group is keen to hear from people who work or have worked in paid peer work in Edinburgh. The anonymous findings will be shared with stakeholders and decision makers with the aim of improving experiences of peer workers in Edinburgh.

If you are/were a paid peer worker in Edinburgh and would like to contribute your thoughts, please find the survey here.

For further questions/comments about the survey or if you would like to join the Peer Forum, please contact Madhu Venugopal at madhu@capsadvocacy.org.

Opportunity for services to improve LGBTQI+ practice

The CAPS LGBTQI+ Collective Advocacy group successfully launched their refresh of the LGBT+ Mental Health Audit tool recently. The launch event  brought together different organisations to look at how to use the tool and why it is important. If you work within the field of mental health and would like to make your practice more LGBTQI+ inclusive, you can use the tool, and read our accompanying resources on Spotting and Addressing Discrimination, and Inclusivity.

If you have any questions about the tool and its development, please contact Development Worker Mohasin Ahmed at mohasin@capsadvocacy.org

Welcome to new staff

We are excited to have hired a new Collective Advocacy Development Worker, Molly Newhouse. Molly will be working with our Experiences of Psychosis group, facilitating the development of their lived experience workshop, and the Much More Than a Label project (for people who might attract a diagnosis of a personality disorder), who are currently designing their booklet on BPD. Molly’s background is in researching power informal structures and ways to reduce power imbalances, both within big organisational structures and within small interactions over a cup of tea. 

Find out more about our Collective Advocacy projects and get involved

We’re also delighted to announce that we have two new staff members joining the Individual Advocacy Children and Young People’s team. Denise McFadden joined CAPS as Children and Young People’s Individual Advocacy Worker. Her role is to provide Individual Advocacy to children and young people within East Lothian and Midlothian who are experiencing the Children’s Hearing System. Denise supports them to express their views and wishes and to be fully involved in any decisions affecting their lives.



Smiling woman, Denise, with shelves in the background
Lauren Miller is a new Children and Young People’s Individual Advocacy Worker for Lothian and Scottish Borders. Like Denise she works with children and young people who are experiencing the Children’s Hearing System. She will also be supporting children and young people who are experiencing an Eating Disorder to have as much choice and control as possible. Find out more about Individual Advocacy for children and young people.
Smiling woman, Lauren, with beach scene in the background.
Very best wishes from all at CAPS!
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CAPS Independent Advocacy is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation Scottish Charity number: SC021772