What is an IMHA?
An IMHA is a specialist advocate who provides a statutory service to qualifying patients under the Mental Health Act 1983. IMHAs provide an additional safeguard for those under the Act and are independent of the professionals involved in the care and treatment of the patients they are supporting. An IMHA can help qualifying patients to understand their rights under the Act and ensure they feel able to participate in decisions being made about them.
Who is a qualifying patient?
Service users detained under the Mental Health Act (1983) including:
- People on leave from hospital;
- Conditionally discharged restricted patients;
- People subject to guardianship;
- People ‘liable to be detained’;
- People on supervised community treatment (SCT).
Informal patients if:
- They are being considered for section 57 treatment (neuro-surgery);
- They are under the age of 18 and being considered for section 58a treatment (electro-convulsive therapy known as ECT).
The Rights and Duties of an IMHA:
An IMHA will support an individual to raise their wishes or concerns, and to exercise their rights under the Mental Health Act (1983).
An IMHA will help you to understand:
- Your section and your rights;
- The rights which other people (e.g. Nearest Relatives) have in relation to you;
- Any conditions or restrictions you may be subject to;
- The medical treatment being given, proposed or discussed.
An IMHA can:
- Ensure your views are heard;
- Speak on your behalf;
- Support you to access information;
- Help you to raise concerns;
- Support you to make informed decisions;
- Help you to be involved in decisions about your future;
- Talk to you in private.
Advent Advocacy’s IMHAs:
We are specially trained IMHAs. We combine academic excellence with applied practice enabling us to work with people from all backgrounds and of varying needs We work to promote equality, social justice and social inclusion. We work to ensure people feel empowered.
At Advent Advocacy, we pride ourselves on our flexible service. Our non-adversarial approach supports people to accomplish the best outcomes. We can also work to support effective therapeutic relationships between service users and service providers.
Our independent and confidential service can be accessed on a regular basis because our IMHAs actively spend time in services. Our service model allows for regular, routine set visiting times. This unique style of working enables us to maintain relationships with our clients and with the professionals providing their care.