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Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)

 

IMHA advocates are statutory advocates whose role and powers are enshrined within Mental Health legislation. Access to the IMHA service has been a right of qualifying patients since April 2009. IMHA advocates are extremely valuable in helping inform a patient of their rights and the powers of those involved with their care. 

IMHA cases concern people who are qualifying patients within the Mental Health Act, either formally detained in Hospital or people on a Community Treatment Order, or under guardianship. In some circumstances informal patients can also have represntation and support from an IMHA case advocate when specific types of treatment requiring additional safeguards are being discussed, for example, Electro Convulsive Therapy or Neurosurgery. 

Cases can often be complex and can involve many issues including assisting people with professional meetings about teir care under the Mental Health Act and supporting them through representation at formal meetings including Hospital Managers Reviews and Tribunals. 

IMHA cases, due to the statutory criteria, are often lengthy and require at times a high degree of involvement from a number of professionals and even court procedings, particularly if the case involves Forensic issues. 

IANE runs the IMHA service on behalf of patients who are registered with a GP within the North Tyneside locality.