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Mind in Croydon - Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)

What is Advocacy about?

• Encouraging clients to speak for themselves
• Being included in the decision-making process
• Being treated equally
• Challenging assumptions
• Explaining your rights

How can Advocacy Help?
Sometimes people find it difficult to express concerns about their treatment or care while they are in hospital. It can be particularly difficult if you are on a ‘section’ or if this is your first time in hospital or if you are living in the community and wishing to access mental health services or are currently on a community treatment order (CTO).

However, you have the right to be heard; your opinions should be listened to by the professional involved in your care.

An advocate can support you, being present when you put your views across, or by speaking on your behalf.

The Advocacy Service operates independently of the mental health services. We listen to individuals in a non judgemental way.
It offers you the opportunity to talk to someone in confidence about issues relating to your treatment.

How does it work?
Advocates work as instructed by the client. We therefore work differently according to the needs and wishes of our individual clients. Some common examples of advocacy work include (applies to inpatient and community clients):

• Listening to you and helping you have your voice heard, including empowering you to speak for yourself.
• Supporting you, at ward rounds and Care Programme Approach meetings.
• Supporting you when discussing your treatment plan with your doctors and nurses or social workers
• Providing clear information about rights, medication and any aspect of treatment while in hospital.
• Supporting you in gaining legal advice and representation if necessary.
• Signposting you to other services who can provide support to meet your needs.

Independent Mental Health Advocates
IMHA Advocates are specially trained to work within the framework of the Mental Health Act.

Your Rights
Anyone who is being treated compulsorily in hospital or in the community under a section of the Mental Health Act has a right to an IMHA Advocate.

An Independent Mental Health Advocate can help you understand:

• Your rights under the Mental Health Act.
• The rights that other people have in relation to the Act.
• The parts of the Act that apply to you.
• Any conditions or restrictions to which you are subject.
• Any medical treatment you are receiving and the reasons for that treatment.

And can: (with your agreement)
• Meet with you in private.
• Look at your medical (and social services) records.
• Speak to the people treating you.
• Accompany you at meetings with the people treating you.
• Represent you by speaking or writing on your behalf.

The Advocacy Service aims to promote the interests and rights of anyone in the Croydon community who may be suffering from mental health problems.

The Advocacy Service is an independent organisation funded by NHS Croydon and managed by Mind in Croydon. The Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA).

Service, set up under leglislation in 2009, is run as part of the Advocacy Service and can be accessed through it.

Who can make a referral?
• You
• Family
• Friends
• Health professionals
• Voluntary Organisations. 

26 Pampisford Road, Purley, Surrey, CR8 2NE
Contact name:
Hannah Besely
Job title:
Advocacy Service Manager
020 8763 6730
020 8763 3782
Opening times:
Mon-Fri 9am-5pm
Who is it for:
Hospital clients: Gresham 1, Gresham 2, Triage, PICU, Chelsham (IMHA qualifying only)

Related Information

Related Factsheets

Service Definitions

Services offered to those who may require an advocate. An advocate is a person who can support a service user or carer through their contact with health services. Advocates will attend meetings with patients and help service users or carers to express concerns or wishes to health care professionals. Although many people can act as an advocate (friend, relative, member of staff) there are advocacy services available that can be accessed through the Trust.These advocates are trained and independent.

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