IMHA’s are Independent Mental Health Advocates

IMHA – who gets one?

  • If you are detained (kept in hospital) for more than 72 hours under the Mental Health Act or
  • you are made subject to a Guardianship Order or
  • Community Treatment Order or
  • you are an informal patient but are being considered for serious surgery, like neurosurgery, for a mental disorder
  • you are an informal patients under the age of 18 and you are being considered for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
  • you have the right and should be referred to have an Independent Mental Health Advocate

IMHA – what do they do?

An Independent Mental Health Advocate is someone who is INDEPENDENT of the hospital or place where you are staying. The job of an IMHA is to make sure you are informed of your RIGHTS and that your VOICE is being HEARD. They will not tell you what to do but will talk to you and help you decide what you might want. The IMHA service is FREE and information should be given to you about the local service provided for you.

  • how to make your views heard by the people involved in your care and treatment
  • why you have been detained
  • any conditions or restrictions which apply to you
  • how to appeal against your section.

Other ways an IMHA can help:

  • They can read your records, if you want them to –  to gather information to help you understand what is happening
  • Speak to you about why you have been detained, any conditions or restrictions which apply to you
  • Support you when a ward round is happening to put across your wishes and feelings
  • Speak to you about how to appeal against your section

IMHA – what do they know

An IMHA is a Specialist Advocate who has knowledge of the law in relation to mental health – they are NOT a SOLICITOR and so do not give legal advice. They can support you to access a solicitor.

How do I find one?

NYAS and other IMHA service providers will advertise on the ward by putting posters on the notice boards and visiting regularly.