Advocacy FAQs

I haven’t got any money to buy food. What can I do? 

Mind in Haringey may be able to give food vouchers to clients in financial crisis depending on the circumstances. Please contact us on 020 8340 2474 for more information. You can also contact Hearthstone on 020 8888 5362 to request a food voucher if you are a person who is or has been at risk of domestic violence and are in a financial crisis.

I have to send a form back as soon as possible, can you see me? 

We do not offer a crisis service. If you have a form to complete, please let an advocate know as soon as possible. We will do our best to see you; however, it may not always be possible. 

How can I access mental health services?

The first thing to do is to visit your GP. They can successfully treat some less complex mental health conditions, such as mild to moderate depression, anxiety and some eating disorders. They will provide medicines needed to help you with your symptoms and can refer you to a counsellor. 

If you have a more serious mental health condition the GP can refer you to specialised mental health services for an assessment of your mental health needs. Following an assessment you may be offered an appointment with a psychiatrist or psychologist, or you may be allocated a care coordinator to oversee your package of care. If you are not found to be in need of services from the mental health team you may be able to refer yourself for psychological service from IAPT (Improved Access to Psychological Therapies). For more information about IAPT, please visit their website

I am in a mental health crisis – what can I do?

In a crisis or if you have an urgent mental health need you can get immediate help from the Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment (CRHT) Service at St. Ann’s Hospital; telephone 020 8702 6700. For more information about Crisis Support please click the red tab towards the top right corner of this page.

Nobody seems to listen to my point of view, can you help me? 

The Advocacy Service is here to help you get across your views. An advocate can help you to write a letter to the professionals concerned with you or with sufficient notice, attend a meeting with you and your care co-ordinator or doctor.

I need an advocate to attend a meeting with my mental health team as I am having a review and feel I do not get listened to. Can you help? 

If you need an advocate to attend a meeting with you, we need as much notice as possible. It may be necessary to reschedule or request another meeting for a time when an advocate is available. We will offer to meet you before the meeting so that we can do a list of your issues. We do not have an opinion; we are there to help you get across your views. 

I have issues with my medication. Can an advocate advise me on what I should be taking? 

Advocates do not provide medical advice. We can help you to find information and help you to ask the doctor who is prescribing your medication for further information. If you are in hospital your doctor will regularly review your medication with you. If you are not in hospital you can contact the pharmacy at St Ann’s hospital and ask them to meet with you to discuss your medication. The National Mind website has a list of common mental health medications with information about what they are and what they are usually prescribed for. Please follow this link for more information.

I need to claim Employment Support allowance. How do I do this?

ESA stands for Employment Support Allowance. To begin a claim you need a note from your GP to say that you are not fit for work. You will be asked to complete a Work Capability Assessment (WCA) so that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can decide whether you are eligible for ESA. This will probably involve filling in a Limited Capacity for Work form and attending a medical assessment. If you are considered to have a limited capacity for work following assessment, you will be placed in either the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) or the Support Group (SG). In the WRAG you will have to attend meetings with a Personal Adviser to discuss and prepare for eventual return to work. If you are in the SG you don’t have to prepare for return to work but can if you want to. 

If the DWP decide you don’t qualify for ESA then you will be expected to claim JSA. If you disagree with any DWP decisions you have the right to ask them to look at the decision again or lodge an official appeal. This needs to be done within one month of being sent the decision about your limited capacity for work.

I have an appointment for a welfare benefits medical assessment. Can you help? 

If you are working with an advocate they will try to come to the ATOS appointment with you if they can. You are allowed to re-arrange the medical assessment appointment time once. If you don’t have an advocate coming with you it is possible to arrange for a support worker, friend or family member to come. 

A useful thing to do is for you to make a list of the most important things which you want to get across in the medical assessment, and bring this list with you on the day. That way you can check that you have covered all the points before the end of your assessment. It is important to bring any new medical evidence with you to your ATOS assessment and ask them to take a photocopy of it to include with their report.

I have to complete a Limited Capacity for Work form but my condition varies so much. How can I answer the questions?

Like many physical conditions mental health conditions can vary and therefore you might be unsure of which boxes to tick in reply to some of the questions. You may have some good days and some bad days. It is important to make this clear on the form and to talk about your worst days. Do not be afraid to talk about your worst days. There is an option for ‘it varies’ under most of the questions. You can tick this box and use the space below to explain how your condition varies and affects your ability to carry out the tasks referred to in the question. 

I am on ESA and have been put in the work related activity group. I think I should be in the support group. Can you help me?

If you have been moved from the support group to the work related activity group you can appeal within one month of the date the decision is sent to you. When you receive the decision you will get some information about the points you scored for the relevant descriptors and your total score. You can provide further evidence. Also think about what you might have missed about how your condition varies and the side effects of your medication. Ask the mental health professionals who know you to provide evidence of your problems and whether they agree with the points you have scored. 

Being in the work related activity group doesn’t mean that you are expected to look for work. You have still been assessed as having a limited capacity for work, but it has been decided that there are things that could help you to feel better and so overcome some of your limited capacity. This is what is meant by work related activity. It can include attending wellbeing activities at Mind in Haringey for example. If your condition worsens while you are in the work related activity group you can appeal the decision to place you in the work related activity group at any time. But you will need to provide evidence of the severity of your limited capacity to work. An advocate may be able to help you with this.

My housing benefit has stopped and my landlord has informed me I have rent arrears. Can an advocate help? 

The first thing to do is to ring the council and find out why your housing benefit has stopped. If you have had a recent medical for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), your benefit may have stopped because you have been found not to have a limited capacity for work. If this is the case you can appeal against the decision. If the ESA resolution team do not change the decision you can ask for your case to be referred to a Benefits Tribunal. One you know your case has been referred to a tribunal you can ask Housing Benefit to restart your rent payments back from when it was stopped. You will need to keep your landlord informed. 

An advocate may be able to help you with this process. For example an advocate at Mind in Haringey can send a fax through to Haringey Council Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit department to find out what the problem is and whether you need to appeal an ESA decision. 

If your landlord is threatening legal action you may be able to get advice from the Shelter Housing Helpline 0808 800 4444 or Haringey Law Centre 020 8808 5354

I would like to claim Personal Independence Payment. Can you help? 

You need to telephone 0800 917 2222 to go through some information like your contact details, date of birth, and bank details to establish your identity, and also confirm your GP’s contact details. This takes about 30 minutes. An advocate can help you will this if needed. The form will then be sent to you and you can make an appointment with an advocate to fill it in. 

I am homeless. Can you help? 

You need to go to the Wood Green Customer Service Centre in Station Road, N22 and take any relevant documents. They will need to find out how and why you became homeless. If they decide that you made yourself intentionally homeless they will not recognise a duty of care towards re-housing you. If you are a vulnerable adult you can ask your care team to refer you to the Vulnerable Adults Team who may be able to help you find accommodation. If you need an advocate to help you at an assessment meeting, please contact your advocate and give them as much notice as possible.  

I am a carer for someone who has a mental health condition. Can you help? 

Mind in Haringey’s Advocacy Service only works with mental health service users. There is a carer’s advocate at the Mental Health Support Association, their telephone number is: 0208 885 9331

I am not eligible for advocacy at Mind in Haringey but need help with benefit issues. Where can I go?

You can access advice about welfare rights and debt issues from the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). They have two offices in Haringey – one in Tottenham (020 3324 2800) and one in Turnpike Lane (020 8341 2400). They also offer drop in appointments to patients and non-patients at the following GP surgeries in Haringey: 

  • Broadwater Farm Health Centre, Wednesdays 9.30 – 12.30
  • Laurels Healthy Living Centre, Mondays 1.00 – 4.00
  • Queenswood Medical Practice, Tuesdays 2.00 – 5.00
  • Tynemouth Road Health Centre, Tuesdays 9.30 – 12.30

I have a benefits tribunal coming up and I need representation. Can you help?

Within the advocacy team we have a service which may be able to refer you to the Free Representation Unit (FRU). FRU offer cases needing representation at tribunal with solicitors willing to work on a pro bono basis (free of charge). 

We may be able to complete a FRU referral form with you if you a) haven’t been given a date for your tribunal yet, and b) can provide 2 copies of the appeal papers which have been sent to you. The appeal papers are usually between 50 and 100 pages. Please call our main number 020 8340 2474 for more information.