Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)
What is Independent Mental Health Advocacy?
Independent Mental Health Advocacy was introduced in April 2009 as part of changes made to the Mental Health Act. These changes gave people who are detained under The Mental Health Act the right to have support from an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) for the period of their detention. An IMHA is a qualified and experienced advocate who supports people to understand their care and treatment and works to ensure that people’s rights under the Mental Health Act are upheld.
When can I get an Independent Mental Health Advocate?
You are entitled to an advocate if you are detained under any part of the Mental Health Act. People can also access an advocate if they have been provisionally discharged from hospital, are on supervised Community Treatment Orders, or are voluntary patients who are considering serious medical treatment as a result of a mental health condition.
What will an Independent Mental Health Advocate do?
An advocate is somebody to be on your side. They will inform you of your rights and obtain information about conditions of your detention, care or medical treatment. They will support you to be involved in your care and treatment and support you in meetings and ward rounds. They can help you to access solicitors and challenge decisions you are not happy with. Advocates will meet with you in private where possible and only act on your instructions.
How do I get an Independent Mental Health Advocate?
Referrals for the IMHA service can be made by service users, families, or professionals such as nurses and social workers.
Referral forms for professionals are available below and should be securely emailed using password protection or via Egress to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also speak to an advocate on the ward or phone 0161 214 3904 to refer yourself or a family member.
For more detailed about the Mental Health Act and the role of an Independent Mental Health Advocate click here.
What is Advocacy?
Advocacy is taking action to help people say what they want, secure their rights, represent their interests and obtain services they need. Advocates work in partnership with the people they support and take their side. Advocacy promotes social inclusion, equality and social justice.