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Independent Mental Health Advocates

The Trust is committed to ensuring the engagement, promotion and provision of advocacy to all its service users. The statutory duty to inform and refer to the Independent Mental Health Advocate service introduced in April 2009 has meant the Trust linking with advocacy providers across the footprint to ensure that we promote and engage with the advocacy services in the best possible way. We have implemented an action plan to monitor our work with the IMHA providers and as part of this we have incorporated their information into the Trust training programme. They have also provided the information below to include on this area of the site.

Independent Mental Health Advocates

Document File Size
Slides taken from the Principles of Governance Training 436 KB
Mental Health Law and Independent Mental Health Advocate Statement and Review of Action Plan 124 KB

Our vision is of a society that promotes and protects good mental health for all and treats people with experience of mental distress fairly, positively and with respect.

What are Independent Mental Health Advocates (IMHA's)?

Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) is not new. However, for the first time the provision of mental health advocacy to "qualifying patients" is required by law" (Mental Health Act 2007).

The purpose of IMHA's is to help people to participate in decisions about their care and treatment and to make them aware of their rights and how to exercise them. To be eligible to receive the help of an IMHA, you have to be a 'qualifying patient'.

Qualifying patients are those who are:

  • Detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act
  • Being considered for a Section 17 leave, or Section 117 after care
  • Subject to a Guardianship Order under the Mental Health Act
  • Subject to a Supervised Community Treatment Order in the community
  • Discussing with their doctor the possibility of psychosurgery (any surgical operation on the brain tissue)
  • Discussing the possibility of serious treatments such as neurosurgery
  • Between the ages of 16 - 18 years old and are discussing with a doctor the possibility of ECT

People have a legal right to be informed of their entitlement to an IMHA and this must include the relevant information being given both orally and in writing. The person responsible will depend on the situation at the time, for example, it is the hospital manager's duty when the patient is initially detained.


If you want to make a referral to the advocacy service please contact the relevant Local Mind Association that provides the service in your area. We have an open referral system so you can be referred by mental health professionals, family or you can self refer.

Advocacy principles

Our advocacy services are governed by a clear set of principles:

  • independence - We are independent from the hospital and from social services
  • user led - we are instructed by our service users and work on the issues that are important to them and only act with their consent
  • empowerment - our ultimate goal is to enable those using our services to develop towards self-advocacy
  • confidentiality - Our services are confidential
  • free access - advocacy is a free service and must not discriminate on financial grounds

All of the local Mind Associations are committed to working towards the Quality Management in Mind mark and the Action for Advocacy Quality Mark.

Note: Advocacy services are also available in certain areas for people who are not detained under the Mental Health Act. Please ring your nearest Mind service to find out more.

Please contact us for further information.

Areas covered and contact details

Bury (Rochdale and District Mind)
Tel: 01706 752344
Available to all inpatients and those subject to the CPA in the community

Rochdale (Together Advocacy)
Tel: 01706 645830

Tameside (Cloverleaf)
Tel: 0161 2070767

Oldham (Cloverleaf)
Tel: 0161 207 0767

Stockport Advocacy
Tel: 0161 480 8979

Areas covered: Rochdale, Bury, Tameside and Glossop, Oldham and Stockport.

Local Mind Associations are experienced providers of advocacy services for people affected by mental distress and we provide a range of advocacy services both in the community, on acute inpatient mental health wards and in low secure settings.

The Mental Health Alliance and the Royal College of Psychiatrist have also produced reports on the role of the IMHA which people may find useful.


Document File Size
Independent Mental Health Advocacy 294 KB
Independent Advocacy for people with mental disorder 280 KB
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