Independent Mental Health Advocacy during #COVID19
Abbi an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) talks about providing advocacy during coronavirus. Advocacy makes a huge difference to the lives of people who are feeling powerless and unheard. IMHAs support people who have been detained under the Mental Health Act and therefore are very unwell, at least when we first meet them. More information about our service can be found here.
Angela was admitted to hospital after her mental health got worse to the point that she had to be held so staff could give her essential medication. She had found this really traumatic and was finding it difficult to trust the staff on the ward, not wanting to take her medication or speak in a ward round.
Normally I would have been on the ward, able to meet Angela face-to-face to find out what support and information she needed to make things a little easier for her. But, of course, with the current restrictions in place, this was not possible and Angela didn’t have a mobile phone I could contact her on.
With the help of staff, who were able to provide the equipment, I was able to speak with Angela via a video-link. She told me how she was feeling and what information she needed. She was worried about her medication and therefore we talked through her rights and I arranged for her to be provided with a leaflet which included information about any possible side effects. I was then able to join the ward round, again via video-link, and supported Angela to say what she was feeling and ask questions.
After the ward round we spoke again to go through what had happened and what it meant.
Angela was reassured that she knew what her rights were and that what was being done was proper and reasonable. She said that advocacy has helped her to understand her situation and what her options were. She felt more in control of her situation and with the information she had got she felt able to take the medication and work with staff.
Within a week, Angela was discharged from hospital.