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Independent Mental Health Advocates (IMHA)

We support people who have had their freedom restricted on grounds of their mental health

People who are detained or sectioned in hospital under the Mental Health Act, or have had their liberty restricted by Community Treatment Orders or other similarly restrictive orders, have a legal right to understand their situation.

We are here to help people:

  • Understand the rights they are entitled to and the laws they are subject to
  • Define and communicate their views and wishes
  • Share their feelings with staff
  • Fully understand their situation, their treatment, and their future
  • Protect their interests
  • Be more involved in decisions which affect their care and treatment

We are also able to act on people’s behalf when requested, and can help people understand what their loved ones can do for them.

“My advocate helped me understand why I need to take my medication. I see now that the medical staff are only trying to help me. It’s nice to feel safe again.”

So who qualifies for our IMHA service?

Anyone currently subject to the Mental Health Act in Southwark and Newham:

  • Anyone who has been sectioned for over 72 hours
  • Informal or voluntary patients who are being considered for section 57 treatments (neuro surgery/hormonal implants)

Southwark and Newham residents in the community:

  • People on Community Treatment Orders (CTO’s)
  • People who have been conditionally discharged from hospital
  • People on leave of absence
  • People who are subject to guardianship

You can seek our help if you are a patient or a relative/friend of a patient. Read some of our case studies and learn more about how we can help.

For further information, please call our IMHA duty on 020 7358 7007 from  9am to 5pm Monday to Friday. A qualified IMHA will answer any queries you have. If you prefer, you can email us here.