Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)

Access to an IMHA is a statutory right for people detained under most sections of the Mental Health Act, subject to Guardianship or on a community treatment order (CTO). When someone is detained in hospital or on a CTO it can be a very confusing and distressing experience. IMHAs are independent of mental health services and can help people get their opinions heard and make sure they know their rights under the law. IMHA can make a big difference to people’s experience of detention and are highly valued by people who use services. ¬†However, research shows that only about half the people who are entitled to an IMHA actually get one.

This suite of 12 resources includes short films, reports, at a glance summaries and tools. Some of the resources aim to raise service users’ and mental health staffs’ awareness and understanding of the IMHA role, and address equality of access.¬† Others help advocacy providers, commissioners and mental health trusts to improve access to IMHA, to understand what a good service looks like, and how outcomes can be measured.

These resources have been produced in partnership with The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in Preston. UCLan is one of the UK’s largest universities with a staff and student community approaching 38,000 and an employment-focused course portfolio containing over 350 undergraduate programmes and nearly 250 postgraduate courses. UCLan has an established research reputation with world-leading or internationally excellent work on diverse topics with strong social justice themes. It is committed to co-producing knowledge, and much of our applied research is carried out in partnership with people who use services and survivors in health and social care.