IF YOU NEED VERY URGENT HELP PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL MENTAL HEALTH SERVICE CRISIS TEAM OR PHONE 999
IMHA is short for Independent Mental Health Advocacy (the service) or Independent Mental Health Advocate (the person that does this work), pronounced "im-ha".
IMHA means a service or person who:
helps people with severe mental health conditions understand their rights and choices in their mental and physical health care and treatment.
helps people to participate in and influence decisions about their treatment, care and well-being in hospital or in the community.
is independent of all public and private mental health and social care services.
should be provided to you free of charge if you are detained or receiving community treatment under certain sections of the Mental Health Act. If you have not been told about this service or have not been given enough information about whether you can access this service, please ask the Ward Manager, your Responsible Clinician, Care Coordinator or other senior professional involved with your care who will know whether you are able to access this service.
If you are not eligible but would still like the support of an IMHA or advocate, you should be able to ask for this as the right to advocacy has widened under the Care Act 2014, to support more people who are vulnerable because of mental or physical health conditions which make communicating your needs substantially more difficult.
The Mental Health Act 1983 was changed in 2007 to allow for greater involvement of patients in their care with the help of an IMHA, which came into effect in April 2009.