Briefings, reports and films from SCIE and UCLan

Being detained in hospital or on being on a Community Treatment Order can be a confusing and distressing experience. An Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) can help by supporting people to get their opinions heard and to make sure that they know their rights under the law. However, research reveals that people with mental health issues don’t always have access an IMHA. Many people with mental health problems are not getting the independent advice and support which is their statutory right. Service users that need IMHAs the most (for instance, older people, people with learning disabilities and people from BME groups) are the most likely to miss out on having access to one.

Twelve new resources are launched this month, at an event at the House of Lords, by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) and the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). Briefings, reports and films give an overview of the current situation regarding IMHAs and provide everything you need to know to improve access to, and to provide, high-quality IMHA services.

In 2012, UCLan published a review of IMHA services. Entitled ‘The Right to be heard’, the review found variations in the access to, and uptake of, IMHAs. It found that only half of those eligible for an IMHA in England actually had access to one. The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) 2015 annual report of the Mental Health Act found that 20% of people sectioned in hospital did not have their rights properly explained to them.

The new resources are:

The resources have been co-produced with peer researchers and other service users, so that they draw on people’s direct experiences. Users were involved in a number of roles including as advisory group members, writers, film-makers, editors and project lead.

Access to an IMHA can ensure people’s rights are respected, can greatly enhance the service user experience and can improve staff / service user relations and support prevention.

These great resources can be accessed on the SCIE website here.