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Advocacy

If you’ve been detained under the Mental Health Act (1983) or you live in Ealing and need support from our Independent Advocates, we can help.

  • Our advocates work with Cygnet Healthcare and Ealing Local Authority. 
  • Our advocates are known as IMHAs when working with detained patients, this means Independent Mental Health Advocates.
  • Our advocates in the community are known as Independent Advocates.

What is advocacy?

We all know how frustrating it can be when people aren’t listening to us. Unfortunately, having a mental health problem can sometimes mean it’s even harder to have your opinions and ideas taken seriously by others. This can be very difficult to deal with, especially when you need to communicate often with health and social care professionals. You might find they don’t always offer you all the opportunities and choices you would like, or involve you fully in decisions about your care.

Advocacy means getting support from another person to help you express your views and wishes, and help you stand up for your rights. Someone who helps you in this way is called your advocate.

What an IMHA can do for you

An IMHA can help you understand:

  • Your rights under the Mental Health Act 1983 and why certain decisions have been made
  • The rights which other people (such as your nearest relative) have in relation to you under the Mental Health Act 1983
  • The parts of the Mental Health Act 1983 which apply to you (such as the basis on which you are detained) and make you eligible for an IMHA
  • Any conditions or restrictions you are subject to (for example, relating to leave of absence from hospital or a CTO)
  • Any medical treatment that you are receiving or might be given, including:
  • The reasons for that treatment or proposed treatment
  • The legal basis for providing that treatment
  • The safeguards and other requirements of the Mental Health Act 1983 which would apply to that treatment.

On a practical level, an IMHA can help you:

  • Exercise your rights under the Mental Health Act 1983
  • Express your views about your care and treatment
  • Make a complaint about your care or treatment
  • Enforce your rights and get what you are entitled to
  • Make an application to the Mental Health Tribunal
  • Present your views and support you at a Mental Health Tribunal hearing
  • Access legal advice
  • By representing you and speaking on your behalf – for example at review meetings or hospital managers’ hearings.

What can an Independent Advocate do for you?

Our independent advocates work in the community for anyone living within the London Borough of Ealing. We provide non-statutory advocacy.

We can:

  • Provide information about your legal rights and support you to use them
  • Defend and promote your rights for you when you can’t
  • Accompany you to meetings and support you
  • Explore options and choices in your care so you make informed decisions
  • Help you speak up and self-advocate
  • Listen to your views and concerns

What an Advocate won’t do

  • Give you a personal opinion
  • Make decisions for you
  • Make judgements about you

Eligibility

  • Over 18
  • Detained or informal and in Cygnet Hospital Harrow or Detained or informal in St Bernard’s Hospital Ealing (Hope, Horizon, Jubilee Ward or The Limes)
  • Or if you would like community advocacy, you must be resident in Ealing

Our achievements and your feedback

Last year our Advocates supported 720 people within the inpatient wards.

Very helpful and considerate staff.

I understood my rights as a result of using the service.

I met professional people who knew how to solve my problems.

Next step

  • Refer yourself by email on [email protected] , or phone 020 8571 7454

  • Ask your health professional or social worker to refer you. Please click on the button on the left to fill in the form.

Who we work with:

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