Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)

Our IMHA service supports children and young people under the age of 18 who have been detained under a law called the Mental Health Act, or are on a Supervised Community Treatment Order in East Sussex. Being detained means you have to stay in a unit or a hospital when you are very unwell and doctors think you might hurt yourself or other people. Being on a Supervised Community Treatment Order means you can live and be treated at home or another place that is not a unit or hospital.

An Independent Mental Health Advocate is a person who is trained to support people to understand their rights under the Mental Health Act and to be involved in decisions about their care and treatment. Our advocates do not work for the NHS or any other organisation that runs units and hospitals and they provide free, independent and confidential support.

How can an Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) help me?

Being detained under the Mental Health Act can be frightening and confusing. Our advocates can help you to understand:

  • The reasons you are being detained and how to appeal using the Mental Health Review Tribunal process
  • Your rights under the Mental Health Act and the safeguards (rules to keep you safe) that apply to you
  • Any rules about what you can, cannot or must do
  • The medical treatment you are receiving or might be given
  • Any rules about when and why you can be given certain treatments and how you will be kept safe while you are having the treatment

Our Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) service can also support you to:

  • Get information and make sure it is easy for you to understand
  • Understand what is happening to you
  • Think about your options and be involved in decisions about your care and treatment
  • Prepare for meetings, tribunals, Hospital Managers Hearings, CPAs and ward rounds. An advocate can support you in these meetings if you want, and can help make sure your voice is heard
  • Talk with staff and make your views known
  • Ask questions and tell staff about any concerns you have about your treatment

Children's Advocacy

We provide advocacy for disabled children and young people, up to their 19th birthday, who are receiving a service from the East Sussex Children's Disability Service. This includes children and young people who are Looked-After, at risk of becoming Looked-After, have a Child Protection Plan, a Child in Need plan or who are leaving care.

POhWER can help you to get your views and wishes heard at reviews and meetings, at school or college, when there are changes in your life or if you dont feel safe

How do I get support from an advocate?

Young people can refer themselves to the service or speak to the advocate during their regular visits to some units. They can also be referred by someone else. We may need to get parental or carer consent before an advocate can work with a young person who is under 18 years old.

To find out more about this service or to make a referral you can contact our Help Hub by:

Telephone IconPhone on 0300 456 2370 or

at symbolEmail on [email protected]