Nearest relative

Explains what a nearest relative is, including what powers and rights they have and how you can change your nearest relative. Applies to England and Wales.

Can my nearest relative ask an independent advocate to see me?

Yes – your nearest relative has the right to ask for an independent mental health advocate (IMHA) to see you.

An IMHA is an advocate specially trained to help you find out your rights under the Mental Health Act 1983 and help you while you are detained. They can listen to what you want and speak for you.

You don’t have to see an IMHA if you don’t want to.

For more information see our advocacy guide.


This information was published in January 2017. We will revise it in 2019.

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