Write to us:
Total Voice Sunderland, VoiceAbility, 1 Qd North Sands Business Centre, Liberty Way, Sunderland, Tyne & Wear, SR6 0QA

Call us: 0191 543 7890

Fax us: 0191 510 5099

Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)

We provide the IMHA service for people who need support with their rights under the mental health act. 

This page gives information about who can get support from an IMHA, and how an IMHA can support you.

What is an IMHA?

S.Yorks IMHA service - girl looking pensiveIf you are being detained under a Mental Health Section, you are legally entitled to help and support from an Independent Mental Health Advocate.*

We also offer this service if you are:

  • Conditionally discharged or a restricted patient
  • Subject to Guardianship under the Mental Health Act
  • On a Supervised Community Treatment Order
  • Being considered for serious treatment such as Neurosurgery
  • Someone under the age of 18 being considered for electro-convulsive therapy

Advocates can support you with understanding and getting information about your rights under the Act, the parts of the Act that apply to you, and the medical treatments you may be given.

*Exclusions Apply; call the Total Voice team to find out more.

We will:

  • 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.

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.

The IMHA service is

  • Free
  • Independent
  • Confidential

How do I find an IMHA?

Certain staff have a duty to make sure you understand that help is available to you from IMHA services and how you can get that help. You can speak to professionals like nurses and social workers and they can make a referral on your behalf.

If you want to make a referral yourself, you can contact us on the details at the top of the page or complete the referral forms below.

If you need to make a complaint, please see VoiceAbility's complaints procedure which has details of how to make a complaint, or send a contact form to Mental Health Matters, choosing the 'make a complaint' dropdown option.