Inspire’s Advocacy for All service promises the right support at the right time. Its focus is to give people the extra support they may need to resolve certain issues. Our digital advocate, Kiara Duffin, explains how the service works and how it can help. You’ll often spot Kiara out and about promoting our advocacy service. She’s pictured above with Inspire’s Community Engagement Coordinator, Kenny Ramsey, at a recent Translink event.
As the digital advocate, I look after requests for help that come through our freephone, email and webchat. I talk to the people who contact us and try to help them unblock the issues that they’re experiencing. If someone needs extra help, our team of advocates can step in to offer more support.
Our advocacy service is available to anyone in Northern Ireland, aged 18 and older, who is feeling worried, stressed or anxious, or is having issues with relationships or addiction. Advocacy is a fancy word that basically means empowering people to have their voices heard, so that they can deal with challenges in their lives.
Over time, we start to recognise patterns in our advocacy service – certain topics come up over and over again. During the course of the last month, the main issues impacting the mental health of the people we speak to were:
- Money and finances
- Grief and bereavement
- Social isolation
People often mention housing problems as a source of worry and anxiety. In fact, housing issues have become such a driver of referrals to our advocacy service that we added new information about common housing problems to our website.
In the last month, we have assisted people who are struggling in temporary housing, people facing eviction and people dealing with anti-social behaviour.
Our advocates often accompany people to housing appointments when they need this extra support.
It’s no surprise that finances are increasingly affecting people’s mental health. More and more, our team is helping people to access food banks and oil vouchers. We’ve also helped clients explain missed rent payments to their landlords.
The rising cost of living isn’t just hurting people’s pockets. It’s increasingly damaging their mental health, too.
You can get information and resources at CommunityWellbeing.info.
It can be difficult to cope with the feelings of grief that come with a bereavement. Counselling is often of huge benefit but there are long waiting lists at present for some of the main support agencies.
One resource that’s been very helpful to the people contacting our service is Sue Ryder’s free online bereavement support.
The isolation that came with the public health response to Covid-19 lingers for many. We regularly speak with individuals who feel disconnected from their local communities. Our advocacy team can help build new friendships by connecting people with community groups and befriending services.
Contacting Advocacy for All
It’s easy to contact our advocates. And getting in touch can make a huge difference to you or someone you know.
- Call us, free, on 0808 189 0036
- Chat to us online
- Send an email
- Send a message through our contact form
We’re here Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.