Advocates' Stories; Why I Became an Advocate Leanne has been with Advocacy Focus for six years, she was runner up in the National Advocacy Awards 2016 for Best Independent Advocate. Leanne says: Leanne has been with Advocacy Focus for six years, she was runner up in the National Advocacy Awards 2016 for Best Independent Advocate. Leanne says:"I wanted to become an Advocate after a friend of mine suffered with several mental health issues, and was not taken seriously by professionals, or offered the right help and support. This led to numerous suicide attempts, one of which was successful and sadly my friend passed away."I knew this was a job where I felt I could make a real difference and could campaign for the right support for people with mental health issues, who sometimes are in desperate situations. I was successful in the post and have never looked back."I absolutely love my job and I feel so passionate about the people I support. I aim to change peoples' lives for the better by upholding their rights, and ensuring they always feel supported, and have their views, wishes and feelings heard."What skills do you need to become an Advocate? "To be an Advocate you need to be resilient and strong. At times you need to challenge decisions made, which doesn’t come easy. You need to be passionate about the people you support, and you need to believe that you can always improve someone’s life."You need to be kind hearted and caring, and most of all a fantastic listener. You need to work hard, and have motivation and be inspired by the people you work with every day."I feel fortunate that all of the above apply to me and I work in a very supportive organisation and I would not change my career for anything."