Independent Mental Health Advocacy

​For people who are under section in hospital or the community

How it works

The law says that you can see an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) if you:

  • are detained in a mental health unit, hospital or ward and are unable to leave

  • have a Community Treatment Order which means you have to follow a treatment plan

  • have a Guardian appointed who can decide where you live and help you get the treatment you need.

There are other situations where you might be able to see an IMHA – get in touch to find out more.

IMHAs will help you find and understand information about:

  • what it means to be detained under the Mental Health Act

  • your rights under the Mental Health Act

  • the rights other people have

  • any conditions or restrictions which apply to you. For example, whether you can leave the hospital

  • any medical treatment that you are already receiving or may receive and why.

IMHAs will:

  • spend time with you to find out about your situation, your needs, wishes and views

  • give you information about your rights, and the right of others, under the Mental Health Act

  • ask questions for you

  • go with you to meetings and speak on your behalf if you want them to

  • support you with an application to the Mental Health Tribunal.

IMHAs do not make decisions about your care and treatment. They are independent from the team who is treating you.

Confidentiality and consent

When you receive a service from us, we will ask you to give us permission to work with you. For most of our services, we will ask you to complete a consent form.


If you are referring someone else you will need to ensure you have the person’s consent to talk to us on their behalf. If the person can’t consent, let us know.


We will not talk about you outside The Advocacy People without you telling us we can. 


However, we have to tell someone else without asking you first if you tell us something which makes us think you or someone else may be:

  1. at risk of serious harm or abuse

  2. committing a serious criminal offence.

We will always try to tell you if we are going to do this.

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PO Box 375, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 9HU

0330 440 9000

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©2020 by The Advocacy People

Charity No. 1080679

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