Adult Social Care - Advocacy

Mental Health Act

People who are subject to the Mental Health Act are entitled to support from an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA). An IMHA is a specialist mental health advocate. The IMHA is not meant to replace existing advocacy, legal advice or support, but will work alongside these services. This service is free and confidential.

The role of an IMHA is to:

  • Help the person understand information about Mental Health legislation, any conditions and restrictions on them, and their rights.
  • Help them get information about and understand medical treatment (e.g. medication, therapies).
  • Support them to take part in care planning.
  • Support for them to apply to, prepare for and attend Hospital Managers Hearings and Mental Health Review Tribunals and to understand the decisions that are made.
  • Discuss aftercare and access support and services.
  • Raise concerns about their experiences of care and support.


People will qualify for access to an IMHA if they are:

  • Detained under the Mental Health Act for assessment and treatment. (This does not include people detained on emergency short term sections, or detained in a place of safety).
  • Conditionally discharged restricted patients.
  • On Supervised Community Treatment Orders or Guardianship Orders.
  • Informal/voluntary patients who are discussing the possibility of serious treatment (e.g. Neurosurgery) for a 'mental disorder' or Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) if the person is under 18 years of age.