Laura and Hannah - Independent Mental Health Advocacy
Advocate Hannah was approached by Laura during a drop-in session at a mental health unit. Laura is 23 and detained under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act.
Laura was upset as she was not getting her agreed escorted S17 leave, due to ongoing staff shortages. During a recent incident where Laura had voiced her frustration, all her leave was stopped.
Hannah supported Laura to prepare for her next ward review meeting, and put across the reasons for her frustration (it was due to being unable to go out rather than a result of her mental health condition). Laura’s care team agreed to reinstate her leave, but any leave at that time would still need to be escorted by staff.
The following week, although Laura had received some of her escorted leave, it was still much less than had been agreed, due to staffing issues. Hannah supported her again at her ward review meeting to raise the issue - and also to ask if family or close friends could accompany Laura on her leave. It was agreed that this could happen by prior arrangement.
As a result of advocacy support, Laura was able to put forward her views, look at alternative solutions and ultimately receive S17 leave from the unit, which she felt helped in her recovery.
Cloverleaf, with Laura’s agreement, raised the issue about leave and staff shortages with the unit managers. It has been acknowledged as an issue and the mental health trust are working to address it.