Aziz was referred to POhWER for Independent Mental Health Advocacy support by the unit where he was detained under the Mental Health Act. POhWER advocate, Mike, met Aziz privately and explained the role of an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA), the service, and support available. Aziz said he was aware of his rights and entitlements as he had been detained before, and had support from an advocate in the past which he had found very helpful. 

Mike asked Aziz if all his basic needs were being met and whether he had any cultural or religious needs. Aziz said he was converting to Islam and would be observing Ramadan in March. Mike asked if there was anything Aziz needed to practice his religion whilst at the unit. Aziz said that he had brought his Quran with him but he did not have a prayer mat. He explained that there was an option for halal meals on the menu but it was very limited and usually the same food. Mike asked if Aziz had access to an Imam, Aziz said he had not been given leave to access the community so he had not been able to visit a mosque or see the Imam. 

Mike asked Aziz if he would like to raise these issues with the staff at the unit, Aziz said he would but asked if Mike could be there with him and support him. Mike suggested that they invite a staff member to join the meeting and Aziz agreed. Mike was able to support Aziz to ask for a prayer mat and access to an Imam. Mike also raised Aziz’s wish to have leave from the unit. The staff member noted down Aziz’s needs and promised to raise these with the lead nurse. 

When Mike visited the following week Aziz showed him his prayer mat and also told him that he had met the Imam who visits the unit and would now see him weekly which he was really happy about. Aziz told Mike that he now had leave in place and has been enjoying his ground leave. He had also been referred to a 'Buddy Project', something he was very much looking forward to. Through the Buddy Project, a volunteer would visit him once a week and support him to access the community. The Imam had suggested that Aziz might like to attend a Muslim community group and Aziz was going to ask the volunteer buddy to support him to do this.

Aziz then told Mike that, since they last met, another patient had started being aggressive and verbally abusive towards him. Aziz said it was very upsetting, the other patient had been racially abusive and called him derogatory names. Aziz told Mike that he was afraid of the other patient. Mike asked if he could raise this issue on Aziz’s behalf with the staff and unit manager. Aziz agreed and thanked Mike for taking this seriously.

Mike spoke to ward staff and they agreed to pass these concerns on. Mike also contacted the unit manager about Aziz’s concerns. The manager confirmed that the concerns would be looked into and that Aziz’s Multidisciplinary Team would also be informed.

When Mike made a follow up visit, Aziz confirmed he had now been moved to a different ward, away from the other patient, and there had been no more issues. Aziz told Mike that he felt safe now and thanked Mike for all he had done. 

Mike’s support helped Aziz to uphold his human rights to Freedom of thought, belief and religion (Article 9), protection from discrimination (Article 14) and right to liberty and security (Article 5).