Change that leads to better lives

Rachel's story highlights the right to be free from discrimination

This year's Advocacy Awareness Week highlights how advocates and advocacy supports people in relation to their human rights. Vital shares Rachel's story about the right to be free from discrimination.

Rachel's story - The Right to be free from discrimination
Rachel's story - The Right to be free from discrimination2
Rachel's story - The Right to be free from discrimination3
Rachel's story - The Right to be free from discrimination4
Rachel's story - The Right to be free from discrimination5
Rachel's story - The Right to be free from discrimination6
Rachel's story - The Right to be free from discrimination7

After a chaotic childhood, as a teenager Rachel got into a domestic violent relationship. She became a prisoner in her own home and almost died. Eventually she managed to get out, but with undiagnosed PTSD, agoraphobia, severe anxiety and severe depression she became reclusive and isolated with nobody to reach out to.

In 2012, the trauma surfaced and she was sectioned under the Mental Health Act, after experiencing Psychosis. During this time she has a statutory advocate from VITAL (formerly BAMHAG) who tried to help her to appeal her section. That appeal was denied.

With unresolved trauma, she became ill again in 2016, Rachel tried desperately to access mental health services but felt she wasn’t being listened to. The anxiety, depression and psychosis made it hard for her to keep fighting, so much so she attempted to take her own life.

Following this, Rachel recognized she needed help to get her voice heard and turned to VITAL again and got Community Advocacy. Her advocate visited her and they talked about how she felt. The advocate attended GP appointments, supporting her to get the help which resulted in a referral to the CMHT and a psychiatrist.

Unfortunately, the referral didn’t come through quick enough and she became more unwell again with psychosis. Her advocate and Rachel got in touch with the Crisis Team. After several phone calls, she was eventually assessed by an Approved Mental Health Practitioner, resulting in help from the Intensive Home Treatment Team.

Rachel was seen by a psychiatrist and was told she was too ill for therapy. Through the tireless efforts of a community advocate, Rachel was eventually accepted for therapy and begun undressing the trauma.

Rachel’s Community Advocate stated that Rachel had the Right to be free from discrimination and should be given a fair chance to access therapy. Without this independent advocate, this support would not have happened.

Human rights are for all of us. They are our rights as humans no matter who we are or where we a from.

If you feel you would benefit from having an independent advocate by your side or would like to find out more about your rights, please visit VITAL at

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