• The Advocacy People

Access to Bedrooms - IMHA Support

One of our Advocates, Chris, talks about how he supported Hannah, a young person in a Child & Adolescent Mental Inpatient unit, to speak up for her rights and get changes made to her care and treatment.


While detained under the Mental Health Act on a Child & Adolescent Mental Health Inpatient unit, Hannah (not her real name), accessed her legal right to an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) which is when I began supporting her. Hannah wanted support with understanding her rights and highlight her concerns about restrictions that were in place at the Unit.


Hannah explained to me that between 8am and 9pm the patients on the ward were not able to access their rooms because they were locked during this time. This meant she had to spend the whole day in shared spaces where there were always other patients. Hannah said she needed space away from this because she found it stressful to see other patients upset and very anxious.


Hannah asked me to speak to Ward Manager, which I did. Hannah had also raised a similar concern on behalf of another person on the same ward. We said that this appeared to be something called a blanket restriction which means that the same rule applies to everyone. The Mental Health Act says that blanket restrictions should be avoided unless they can show that the rule is ‘necessary and proportionate’ to keep people safe.


I spoke to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and after this the restriction was lifted so that the young people could go into their rooms whenever they needed, outside of school hours. If they thought it wasn’t safe for some patients to do this they would decide for each individual person. This meant that Hannah was able to access her room again and was able to be on her own when needed.


Hannah told me that being able to say what she thought and wanted through me (her advocate) had given her a voice and the confidence to get a solution. Hannah was really pleased and said that the change had made the situation much easier for all of them on the ward.

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