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Section 130A of the Mental Health Act (MHA) 1983 states that patients under the compulsory powers of the MHA are entitled to an Independent Mental Heath Advocate (IMHA). IMHA’s are supposed to be made available to them to support them in understanding and exercising their rights under the MHA.
Patients have the right to advocacy support from an IMHA if they are detained (or liable to be detained) under the Mental Health Act, or subject to community sections such as Conditional Discharge, Guardianship or CTO’s. Patients who are detained under short term sections such as 4, 5, 135 or 136 aren’t eligible for an IMHA. However informal patients are eligible if they are being considered for a Section 57 treatment. This is where neurosurgery or surgical implantation of hormones to reduce male sex drive may be given with the patient’s consent (p 201 Mental Health Act Code of Practice). Patients under 18 are also eligible if they are being considered for electro-convulsive therapy and its associated medication (this would be under section 58a).
If a person is sectioned under the mental health act and placed 'out of area' from the local authority which funds them, they may find it difficult to get access to an IMHA due to commissioning constraints. The local advocacy service might say they can't provide advocacy for for the person as they are only commissioned to deliver for people normally resident in that area. The IMHA service where the person is normally resident might say it's too far for them to travel. Advocacy Yorkshire can provide an IMHA service for people in this position who are placed anywhere within Yorkshire & The Humber.
Spot purchase IMHA referrals can be made by professionals, the person's 'nearest relative' or the client themselves, but must be accompanied by a completed spot purchase authorisation form. Please use the forms below. If you're referring yourself you will need to ask a professional who's involved in your care to complete the spot-purchase form.
Please send all forms and paperwork via your preferred secure email service, or in password protected files to email@example.com.