Listen to Lade

IMHAs can play an important role in supporting patients with mental illness. They have a statutory role under the Mental Health Act (MHA) for certain patients detained under the MHA.

IMHA support is free of charge. This support extends to supporting patients with care planning, at care programme approach (CPA) meetings and when working through Advance Choice Documents.

IMHAs are independent of the hospital and clinical team

IMHA can listen and express the views of the patient to the clinical team to make sure their voice is heard, and that the patient is at the centre of decisions made about them.

Recommendation 101 of the Mental Health Bill states that: “Culturally appropriate advocacy should be provided consistently for people of all ethnic backgrounds and communities, in particular for individuals of black African and Caribbean descent and heritage.”

This recommendation is supported by the Parliamentary Scrutiny Committee in their review of consultation on the Bill which noted that “Culturally appropriate advocacy is important to ensure that black and ethnic minority patients can have a greater say in their care, and is suggested to divert black people from detention under the mental health act….”

Recommendation 22 of the MH Bill states that : “The statutory right to an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) should be extended so that it includes:

  1. all mental health inpatients, including informal patients
  2. patients awaiting transfer from a prison or an immigration detention centre
  3. people preparing their advance choice documents (ACDs) that refer to detention under the Mental Health Act”


In this module we hear how IMHAs can support patients and carers when working through setting out an Advance Choice Document.

Michael the Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) is meeting with Ali and Joe to explore how he can provide them with some support and clarifying the parameters of an IMHAs role and what at ACD is.

Cherry (IMHA) is meeting with Michael to offer support and outline what an Advance Choice Document is and what can be included

Cherry mentions 'a supporter'. This will be someone who is trained to support someone who wants to develop and Advanced Choice Document. Note, the term 'facilitator' may also be used.