Commissioning and providing mental health advocacy for African and Caribbean men
Organisational arrangements - Mental health advocacy
Type: Stand-alone or as part of an independent mental health organisation
- Adherence to standards, clarity around notions of independence.
- Greater numbers of advocates, supportive networks, sense of an ‘advocacy community’.
- Access to resources and support of ‘second-tier’, capacity-building organisations.
- Concentration in inpatient and/or secure services should ensure access for most individuals.
- Good quality of advocacy provision results in satisfaction in service (including for black partners) for those who make use of advocacy. Effectiveness of advocacy spreads by word of mouth.
- Criticised as ‘colour-blind’ and unlikely to serve African and Caribbean men well unless specific measures adopted to tackle inequalities in access.
- Lack of a proactive approach by many services results in those in most need having the worst access to advocacy – arguably this includes black service users.
- The predominantly white advocacy workforce is a barrier to the uptake of advocacy by black partners. Arguably the professionalisation/ standardisation agenda in the wider advocacy community (despite some attention, notably around asylum seekers and bi-lingual advocacy) has been relatively neglectful of specific equality and diversity issues.
- Often organised to serve particular practice locations, such as inpatient, for example. Difficulties in tracking clients across sectors (for example from inpatient to community setting).
Type: Generic advocacy
- Shares most of the strengths and weaknesses as for care group advocacy.
- Co-location with advocacy for other care groups has potential to facilitate access to – and development of – a broader range of advocacy (collective advocacy; self-advocacy; case work advocacy; citizen advocacy) and therefore increases choice.
- As above. Significant barriers in relation to access, and also widely criticised as ‘colour-blind’.
- Certain sectors and client groups/citizens require specialist services with a specialised knowledge base.
- The location in the voluntary sector leads to difficulties balancing service requirements against resources; insecurity of funding hampers quality developments and future planning.
- Often misunderstood by service providers, especially ward-based care staff.