An Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) is an independent and specially trained advocate who provides support to people who have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act 1983 and are receiving inpatient care and treatment or treatment under a Community Treatment Order (CTO).
What is the role of an IMHA?
An IMHA will help you obtain information and understand your rights under the Act. This might involve explaining any parts of the law which apply to you or telling you about any medical treatment you are receiving or might receive, the reasons for that treatment and the rights of others in relation to you.
An IMHA will help you understand and exercise your rights under the Mental Health Act in relation to your care and treatment.
An IMHA will not make decisions on your behalf; however, they will support you to exercise your rights and if required, speak out on your behalf.
An IMHA is not intended to replace other advocacy services but to work with them.
Every health board is required to have an IMHA service in place. IMHAs services are free – patients will not be charged for help from an IMHA.
The Welsh Government has published a guide to independent mental health advocacy services.
MIND has useful information about the role of an IMHA and how they can help you.