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Explains what advocacy is and how it can help you. Gives information on different types of advocacy, including statutory advocates, what sort of situations an advocate can help you with, and how to find an advocate.
In England, you have the right to an IMHA if:
An IMHA can help you understand:
On a practical level, an IMHA can help you:
Your IMHA should be able to:
You can request support from an IMHA at any time after you become a qualifying patient. You can ask:
Whilst in hospital, you should have access to a telephone which you can use to contact an IMHA and talk to them in private.
The following people can also ask an IMHA to visit you:
It is important to remember that you do not have to see an IMHA if you don’t wish to and that IMHAs support patients, not nearest relatives or carers.
If you lack capacity to decide whether or not to get help from an IMHA, the hospital manager must ask an IMHA to visit you so that they can explain to you directly what help an IMHA can provide. See our legal pages on the Mental Capacity Act 2005 for more information about what lacking capacity means and what your rights are.
This is where someone called a ‘guardian’ is appointed instead of being sectioned and kept in hospital. Your guardian could be a person or a local authority.
You can only be placed under guardianship if it’s necessary for your welfare or to protect other people. Your guardian has the power to make certain decisions about you and to make conditions that you will be asked to keep to, such as where you live.
Guardianship lasts for up to six months and can be renewed: initially for a further six months, and then for a year at a time. You can appeal to the Mental Health Tribunal once in each of these periods.See our full list of legal terms.
This is where you are discharged from hospital but will have to follow some conditions, such as living at a particular place or meeting healthcare professionals. If you break these conditions, you can be recalled to hospital.
You will only be put under a conditional discharge if you have been:
Certain decisions, such as applying for someone who is sectioned to go onto a community treatment order (CTO), can only be taken by the responsible clinician.
All responsible clinicians must be approved clinicians. They do not have to be a doctor, but in practice many of them are.See our full list of legal terms.
AMHPs are mental health professionals who have been approved by a local social services authority to carry out duties under the Mental Health Act. They are responsible for coordinating your assessment and admission to hospital if you are sectioned.
They may be:
This information was published in October 2017. We will revise it in 2020.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.