Speaking your mind

How to speak up and get your views across to other people.

If you understand the words that we have explained in the jargon buster then you can use it to be more assertive and to show that you know what you are talking about.

Don’t worry if you find speaking up for yourself difficult. There are lots of other ways to get your views and wishes across. The tools in this toolkit will also help.

You might like to have someone with you that you trust when you speak to your doctor or other members of the team. Asking someone else to speak up for you or to help you to use the tools can work really well too!

What is advocacy?

• Advocacy is helping and supporting someone to speak up for what
they want

• Self-advocacy is being informed and speaking up for yourself and what you want.

How to self advocate

• Write things down and keep records as much as you can – that way you can be sure of what’s been said or agreed rather than having to remember it all. Plus you can refer back to it if you need to.

• Take the time to plan what you want to say, especially if you are going into a large meeting. This will help you to get things clear with yourself so you can be clear with others. The clearer you are with other people, the more involved and influential you will be in decisions about your life. Also, think about how others (like your psychiatrist, your parents or carers and the other adults involved in your life) are likely to respond to what you have to say and how you can best deal with how they might react.

• Talk to other people – they may have their own experience of advocating for themselves and may be able to support you to do so yourself.

• Practice. Rehearse what you want to say. Then you will feel more prepared and confident when meeting with people.

• You may want to take with you someone who can provide you with moral support. Check with your team to see who you can ask to attend with you.