Independent Mental Health Advocates (IMHAs) provide a specialist source of support to people who are subject to the Mental Health Act (2007).

Any hospital or medical staff that you may deal with have a duty to ensure that you know what help is available to you from the IMHA and how you can get that help.

What is the role of an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA)?

The role of an IMHA is to help you understand:

  • your rights under the Mental Health Act
  • the parts of the Mental Health Act which apply directly to you
  • the types of medical treatment you are receiving - and why
  • the rights that other people have in relation to you under the Mental Health Act

Your IMHA can support you to know and voice your rights, which can also include representing or speaking on your behalf. 

Your IMHA may also support you in a range of other ways to ensure that you are involved in decisions that are made about your own care and treatment.

An IMHAs rights under the Mental Health Act

  • To visit and speak with you in private
  • To visit and interview any person professionally involved with your treatment
  • To expect the production of - and the right to inspect or challenge - any health and social care records which relate to you

In summary, your IMHA knows the Mental Health Act so that you don't need to worry about it.

Who can request the support of an IMHA?

The IMHA Service has a duty to respond to any requests to visit you if it is received from:

  • Yourself
  • Concerned family, friends or significant others
  • Mental health professionals and ward staff

Advocacy in Action

Clive* is a 71 year old male with an acquired brain injury as well as mental health needs, which affect his short term memory and cause him to become disorientated. Clive is married and both he and his wife lived together in supported living accommodation until Clive’s deterioration in his mental health meant that he needed to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act. In 2011, Clive was discharged from hospital on a Guardianship Order to a residential setting where he was required to reside for the purpose of care and treatment. Continue reading...

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