Hello! Just to let you know that we use non-essential cookies (including analytics and third party cookies) to help us understand if our website is working well and to learn what content is most useful to visitors. We also use some cookies which are essential for our platform to work and help us to provide you with the best experience possible. You can accept or reject our non-essential cookies and change your mind at any time. To learn more, please read our cookies policy.

Update cookie preferences
Skip to content


We help people who, because of disability, illness, social exclusion and other challenges, find it difficult to express their views or get the support they need. Our mission is to empower people to have a voice and make a real difference to their lives. We do this by speaking for them when they can't and supporting them to speak for themselves.

www.pohwer.net Fundraise for us

0300 456 2370

Registered charity no. 1061543

Member since December 2020

Latest News

Impact report 2021-2022

Impact report 2021-2022

It is vitally important that individuals’ rights are protected, their voices are heard and they are able to access the support available. POhWER is committed to providing advocacy, information and advice services that support this aim.

Our latest Impact Report showcases the amazing work and outcomes that are delivered through our services and the positive difference they make to people’s lives.

Read now by visiting: https://www.pohwer.net/our-impact

Ethan's Story

Ethan's Story

Ethan is in his late twenties and self-identifies as male. He was referred to POhWER for support from an Independent Mental Health Advocate when he was sectioned under section 3 of the Mental Health Act. When Tom, a POhWER IMHA, met with Ethan, Ethan said he was feeling very angry and distressed.

Ethan felt he was being discriminated against because he is a trans man. He had requested a bed on the male corridor but he was placed on the female corridor and although staff were using his preferred male name, they were continuing to use female pronouns in both their verbal and written communications. He said that this was making him feel very uncomfortable, anxious and vulnerable and that he did not feel he had the confidence to keep challenging this himself.

Ethan asked Tom to help him to challenge the staff who were misgendering him. Tom met with the nurse in charge and also emailed the ward manager and hospital administrator requesting that male pronouns were used in all communications to Ethan and that the staff were reminded of how important it was to use his preferred male pronouns. Tom also supported Ethan to request a move to a bed on the male corridor.

Ethan told Tom that, following Tom’s communications with staff, there had been an immediate change in their behaviour and that they were fully supporting his self-identification as a male. Ethan had also been moved to the Male corridor as soon as a bed became available. He said that he felt so much more comfortable and less anxious now he was in a male bed. He said that these changes had made him feel so much more confident and empowered. Ethan thanked Tom for supporting him without judging him. Moving forward, Ethan was able, with advocacy support, to address other issues as they arose, either directly with staff or at ward rounds.

Tom helped Ethan to uphold his rights to Involvement and empowerment, privacy, safety and dignity, freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment and freedom of expression.

Michelle's story

Michelle's story

Michelle is 16 years and had been residing in a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for five months. When she was first admitted, Michelle was on an eating disorder ward. Staff moved her to the PICU due to various incidents that took place on the ward.

Michelle had approached POhWER for advocacy support on several occasions.

Most recently she raised an issue regarding the information that is fed back to her parents.

Michelle met with POhWER Advocate Natalie and explained that she didn’t want her parents to be informed of every incident she was having and instead would prefer for them to receive a general idea of how her day had been. Michelle said the current situation had a negative impact on her mental health and heightened her need to self-harm. This was because she knew her parents would become distressed when they heard about the incidents and the thought of this made her feel upset.

Natalie discussed with Michelle a plan to address her issue and on her behalf, Natalie requested a best interests meeting so she could discuss her concerns. Natalie, Michelle, her parents, doctor, consultant, occupational therapist, dietician and therapist all attended the meeting.

Natalie supported Michelle to explain the reasons why she wanted to restrict the information that was given to her parents each day. Michelle’s parents were happy to agree with Michelle’s request as they felt it would support her journey at the hospital. The multi-disciplinary team said they understood Michelle’s views would take her wishes into consideration. They also explained their concerns about excluding some of the information which was given to her parents.

Michelle’s request was granted; the brief outline to her parents would include any serious incidents but anything other than that would not be shared. Everyone was happy with the decision and Michelle was satisfied that she was listened to and given the opportunity to make this decision.

By Supporting Michelle through this process, Natalie was upholding Michelle’s right to respect for her privacy under the Human Rights Act 1998.