Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)

What is advocacy?

speaking up

Advocacy is about helping you get what you need.

An advocate can support you to speak up, or they might speak up on your behalf if you need them to.

independent

Advocates are independent. This means they do not work for the council or any other care provider.

What is Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)?

speaking up

Independent Mental Health Advocacy helps you to make your voice stronger. It helps you to have as much control as possible over your life.

Mental Health Act

There is a law called the Mental Health Act. This law says when you can be sent to hospital or kept in hospital, even when you do not want to be there.

Your rights

You have lots of rights if you are in hospital under the Mental Health Act. One of them is the right to help from an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA).

Question

Some people do not have a right to an IMHA. You should contact your local IMHA office to find out if you can use the service.

What does an IMHA advocate do?

Your rights

We will support you to:

  • Understand your rights.
  • Understand what medical treatments you might be given.
Listening

We will listen carefully to what you tell us about your views and feelings.

speaking for yourself

We will support you to speak up, or we will speak up for you if you want us to.

my plan

We will make sure you are fully involved in decisions being made about you.

happy with work

We will let you know when our work with you is finished.

An Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) can also support you to:

prep for meetings
  • Prepare for any meetings like a Mental Health Review Tribunal.
going to meetings
  • Go to the meeting. They will come into the meeting with you if you need them to.
understanding
  • Understand decisions that are made about you at these meetings.
  • Get the right support or services.
  • Talk about the right care for you after you leave hospital.
complaints
  • Make complaints about your experience and care.
your rights
  • Make sure you get what the law says you should have.

Confidential

your information is safe

We won’t tell anyone else what you have said to us unless:

  • You want us to.
  • It involves danger to you or to other people.
  • The law says we need to.

How do I find an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA)?

finding an IMHA

Staff must make sure you understand that you can get support from IMHA services. They must tell you how you can get that help.

our map

Staff must make sure you understand that you can get support from IMHA services. They must tell you how you can get that help.

end the support

If you choose to work with an IMHA, you have the right to end that support at any time.