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What is an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA)?

IMHAs are specialist advocates who are trained to work within the framework of the Act.

IMHA’s can help patients to access information and understand:

  • Their rights under the Act
  • The rights of others under the Act (nearest relative rights)
  • Parts of the Act which apply to the patient
  • Any medical treatment that they are receiving or might be given
  • The reasons for that treatment
  • Exercise their rights- including representing them and speaking on their behalf
  • Help you to understand why you are in hospital & make sense of what is happening
  • Help you to access information about your treatment/ medication
  • Support you in your relationship with your psychiatrist and the ward staff
  • Help prepare for ward rounds / tribunals etc. and to support you in them (subject to availability
  • Signpost you to other agencies for other issues you may need help with

Who can be supported by an IMHA?

Patients are eligible for support from an IMHA, irrespective of their age, if they are:

  • Detained under the Act
  • Liable to be detained under the Act
  • Conditionally discharged restricted patients
  • Subject to guardianship
  • Patients subject to community treatment orders (CTOs)

What rights do IMHA’s have?

  • Meet qualifying patients in private
  • Discuss with professionals concerned with the patient’s care and treatment
  • See any records relating to the patient’s detention, treatment or after-care, for the purpose of providing help to the patient and where the patient consents
  • Request access to records where the patient lacks capacity to consent, if accessing the records is necessary to carry out the functions as an IMHA

Where do Stockport Advocacy provide this service?

Stockport Advocacy provide IMHA support for any eligible patients detained in the Stockport area or subject to a CTO or guardianship If you need more information on which hospitals we provide support please call our office on 0161 480 8979.

How do I get support from an IMHA?

If you would like to make a referral then please call our Referral Voicemail on 0161 989 0031, please leave your name, contact details and the hospital/ ward or address if subject to a CTO or guardianship. If you are calling on behalf of a patient leave the details of the patient along with your details.
If a patient lacks capacity to decide whether or not to obtain help from an IMHA, the hospital manager should ask an IMHA to attend the ward so that the IMHA can explain what they can offer to the patient directly.



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