Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)
The IMHA service is a statutory service which provides safeguards for people who are subject to restrictions under the Mental Health Act.
What is an IMHA?
An IMHA (Independent Mental Health Advocate) is a specialist mental health advocate. You have a statutory right to an IMHA if any of the followings apply to you:
- Detained under the Mental Health Act for assessment and treatment. (e.g. Under Section 2, Section 3, Section 37/41)
- A conditionally discharged restricted patient
- On a Supervised Community Treatment Order or Guardianship Order.
- An informal/voluntary patient discussing the possibility of serious treatment (e.g. Neurosurgery) for a ‘mental disorder’ (or ECT if you are over 18 years of age).
The hospital, or your care co-ordinator should also give you information about the IMHA service.
What can an IMHA do?
An IMHA can work alongside you and:
- Help you to get and understand information about Mental Health legislation, any conditions and restrictions on you, and your rights.
- Help you to get information about and understand medical treatment (e.g. Medication, therapies).
- Support you to take part in care planning.
- Support for you to apply to, prepare for and attend Hospital Managers Hearings and Mental Health Review Tribunals and to understand the decisions that are made.
- Discuss aftercare and access support and services.
- Raise concerns about your experiences of care and support.
What’s the difference between an IMHA and another advocate?
With your consent the IMHA will also be able to:
- Visit and talk to you in private.
- Visit and interview anyone concerned with your medical treatment (e.g. Nurses or consultants).
- Request you’re relevant medical and social services records.
What if I am not eligible for an IHMA?
We will try and help find an advocacy service who may be able to support you. If you are not sure, please contact us and talk it over!