The majority of patients detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 are eligible, under section 130 of the 2007 Act, to access Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) services. However research has shown that less than half of those qualifying for an IMHA appear to be accessing them. This summary and flowchart provide the essential information needed to implement an open access policy. Open access means qualifying patients are automatically referred to IMHA services unless they object. This approach has implications for IMHA service capacity; resourcing; consent and confidentiality. This summary of how to implement an open access process for IMHA services should be considered in conjunction with the Improving Open Access to IMHA flowchart.
Advocacy resources and services
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This briefing provides 10 top tips designed to help commissioners to provide good quality Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) services. The tips cover: understanding the role and responsibilities of IMHA; co-production; strategic needs assessment and asset mapping; outcome-based commissioning, quality and cost; meeting diverse needs; engaging with IMHA providers; IMHA and other forms of advocacy; non-instructed advocacy; out of area placements; and links with health service commissioners.
This summary aims to help Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) providers to open up their service to everyone who has the right to use it. Ensuring equalities within IMHA services means reaching all qualifying patients regardless of their ethnicity, age, gender, disability, beliefs, sexual orientation or any other characteristics protected by the 2010 Equalities Act. It also means taking these characteristics into careful account and developing a service that can understand their impact and meet people's needs in the best possible way.
This report aims to help Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) services reach everyone who is entitled to their support. It aims to help IMHA providers to achieve the best possible outcomes for all people treated under the Mental Health Act 1983 amended in 2007. Drawing directly on the findings and recommendations of the national review of the quality of IMHA services in England, the report highlights the problem of unequal uptake of IMHA by some groups of ‘qualifying patients' and explores what can be done to change this situation. It highlights the obligations of IMHA services under the Equality Act (2010) and provides concrete suggestions about how to take effective action and improve practice when working with people sharing relevant protected characteristics. It also suggest steps that IMHA providers can take to help them identify, understand, and address the barriers to the full and effective use of their service by everyone who is entitled to access it.
This accessible five minute film focusses on mental health staff’s legal responsibilities to refer people for Independent mental health advocacy, how they can support advocates and the benefits for staff.
This accessible seven minute film summarises the issues around ensuring that everyone has access to IMHA services. Primarily aimed at independent mental health advocacy providers the film explains how they can ensure that their service provides equality of access to all service users.
This accessible five minute film provides a simple but authoritative overview of qualifying patients’ right to independent mental health advocacy. It also covers how advocates can help and what the benefits are for people who use services.
Understanding Independent Mental Health Advocacy for mental health staff is about the role of IMHA, who is eligible, and how to support people who used services to access IMHA.
Understanding Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) for people who use mental health services including carers. People who are detained under the Mental Health Act can use the services of IMHA. This publication includes what is IMHA, who can use IMHA and what does IMHA do.
Part of Mental Capacity Act (MCA)
This drama demonstrates the work of Independent Mental Capacity Advocates. It also shows why carers must be involved in best interests decisions.
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