Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)

Support for people who are using NHS mental health services, in hospital or in the community. Part of our Health Advocacy service.

Information for people who would like an advocate or who have been referred for IMHA

We offer advocacy to people from Coventry and Warwickshire who:

  • are being treated in local mental health hospitals (under section or as an informal/voluntary in-patient) OR
  • are accessing local NHS community-based mental health services.

How an advocate can help

An IMHA can support you with:

  • Being fully involved in your care planning.
  • Your access to Mental Health Review Tribunals, preparing for them and understanding decisions made.
  • Your access to other support or services.
  • Discussing appropriate aftercare.
  • How to raise concerns about your experience/care.
  • Exercising your rights.

If you are recieving mental health services in the community, the IMHA can help with even more, including housing issuses, benefit entitlements, employment issues and family law.

What does an IMHA do?

  • Listen carefully to what you tell us about your views and feelings.
  • Support you to speak up or speak up on your behalf if needed.
  • Make sure you are fully involved in decisions being made about you.
  • We will close your case when the work is finished.

The IMHA service is

  • Free.
  • Independent.
  • Confidential.

How to get support for yourself from an IMHA

You have three options:

  • You can contact us by phone or email, our contact details are at the top of the page.
  • You can complete the self-referral form below. The form must be posted to us using the address on the form, and not emailed.
  •  If you are in a mental health hospital you can speak to us when we visit your ward. 

Information for professionals: Full eligibility criteria and how to refer

You have a legal duty under the Mental Health Act to refer eligible people for IMHA support. 

Standard eligibility criteria under the Mental Health Act is when a person is:

  • detained under the Mental Health Act OR
  • subject to a Community Treatment Order or a Guardianship OR
  • being considered for treatment specified in the Mental Health Act section 57 or 58.

From 2nd July 2018, in Coventry and Warwickshire we can also support:

  • vulnerable voluntary/informal in-patients
  • those receiving NHS mental health services in the community who require specific support in order to remain in the community.

You can refer someone by calling 0300 222 5947 or by completing the referral form for professionals linked on this page. Alternatively you can support someone to refer themselves by telephone or using the self-referral form which you can download from the section above. You must return this in one of the following ways:

1. Post the referral form to our Head Office: VoiceAbility Unit 1, The Old Granary, Westwick, Oakington CB24 3AR

2. Email to via a secure method, for example the following are acceptable if you have access to one of these:

  • Sophos email (available to Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust staff)
  • Egress email (available to Warwickshire County Council staff)
  • email (available to Coventry City Council staff)

3. Email from a CJSM account to

For data security reasons, do not email referral forms unless you are using a secure method, even if you password protect documents. If you do not have access to a secure email, or simply prefer to call us, please phone 0300 222 5947 to make the referral, instead of completing the form.

It is essential that we keep people’s data secure, please remember that it is your responsibility to send information to us securely. We are continuing to review secure email routes. If we are able to offer any additional referral routes we will add them to this page.