IMHA (Indepedent Mental Health Advocacy)
The IMHA (Independent Mental Health Advocacy) Service is provided as a statutory right for people detained under the Mental Health Act. The service was introduced as part of the Mental Health Act 2007 and ensures there is an additional safeguard for patients subject to the Act. Patients have the right to be provided with the support of a specialist advocate with the appropriate training and experience to carry out the role. The IMHA service is independent of the NHS.
Patients have the right to an advocate if they are: detained under the Mental Health Act (even if they are on leave under Section 17); are conditionally discharged; are subject to guardianship; are on a supervised community treatment order.
IMHA’s will help patients obtain information about and understand:
- Their rights under the Act
- The rights which other people have in relation to them under the Act
- The particular parts of the Act which apply to them
- Any medical treatment that they are receiving or might receive
Referrals can be made by patients or by a third party. To make a referral please phone 0844 248 9 248.
Anyone who receives support from care services, in the community, residential services or in prisons, may be able to have support from an advocate. In Herefordshire and Worcestershire this service is provided by Onside.
You have the right to an independent advocate if you need help to understand what is happening within the care processes, and the choices you have, need support to decide what care and support you need and help to able to tell people what your views are.
Under the Care Act 2014 those experiencing substantial difficulty in taking part in care and support assessments, planning and reviews and safeguarding processes are eligible for advocacy if they do not have another suitable person to provide support.
As well as people using adult care and support services, carers of an adult or young person, could also be entitled to support as well as young people moving in to adult services.
The Care and Support advocate can:
- Provide support to help you understand the process, choices and decisions you need to make
- Tell others what you want and what your views and feelings are
- Make sure your rights are respected
- Make sure plans say what you need and want them to say
If you are not happy with the decisions that have been made, then your advocate will help you to write down what it is you feel unhappy about.