Independent Mental Health Advocates (IMHAs) provide an additional safeguard for individuals who are subject to the Mental Health Act (2007). They are specialist Advocates who are trained to work within the framework of the Act.
Hospital and medical staff have a duty to ensure that individuals understand that help is available to them from the IMHA service, and provide information on how to access the service. Any information, advice and guidance must be given verbally and then followed up in writing. Depending on the circumstances, the responsibility for informing individuals of the above is:
Individuals must be told about the IMHA service as soon as is practical after they become a qualifying patient within a medical organisation. They should then be reminded of the service on regular occasions.
The role of an IMHA is to help service users to obtain information and to understand:
The IMHA can support service users to exercise their rights, which can also include representing or speaking on their behalf.
IMHAs may also support service users in a range of other ways to ensure that they are involved in decisions that are made about their care and treatment, for example:
The people we support (informal patients) are eligible if they are:
The IMHA Service has a duty to respond to any requests to visit a patient received from:
Our mental health self-help toolkits provide practical information and support written in plain English, for people who have been admitted to hospital because of mental ill health. Download our toolkits and help people in your care to self-advocate.
Please click on the boxes below to download our Conditional Discharge leaflets.
If you are a professional planning a restricted patient’s conditional discharge or working in the community with people who are conditionally discharged, the updated practice guidance can be found here.Download File
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.