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Mental Health Advocacy and IMCA in Hampshire

Working in partnership with Choices Advocacy, Havant and East Hants Mind, Speakeasy Advocacy and Winchester GOLD, Solent Mind Advocacy provides:

Independent Mental Health Advocacy

An Independent Mental Health advocate can help you if you have any restrictions put on you by The Mental Health Act – these can be if you are detained under certain sections, have a Community Treatment Order, a Guardianship Order or for support with some treatments. An IMHA will meet with you and ensure that you are aware of your rights under the Act. They can help you speak to staff and managers or appeal the details of your restrictions.

An IMHA can also attend a tribunal with you to ensure that your rights are upheld, and that you are able to participate fully in the process.

You have a legal right to see an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA) and we have IMHA’s at every inpatient unit in the area. Please look for one of our posters on the ward, speak to ward staff or your Community Nurse, or call us directly.

How to access this service

This is a self-referral service; alternatively you can ask to be referred by hospital or social care staff, or a family member. You can self-refer using the form below or contact the office on 023 8020 8955 or email info@hampshireadvocacy.org.uk for more information.

Ravenswood & Southfields Hospital, Bluebird and Leigh House

We also provide a specialist IMHA service at the forensic units and the adolescent mental health units. Independent Mental Health Advocacy support is provided to patients who need it during their stay.

Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy, DoLS and Paid Representation

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 sets out a legal requirement to assist vulnerable people who lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions about serious medical treatment and changes of accommodation.   This is known as Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA). Read our information leaflet here.

An IMCA will be appointed to make a particular decision related to a change of accommodation or serious medical treatment. Our IMCA’s will meet with you and other people who know you, and consider information about you. Then they will provide a report to the decision maker to inform the decision they are making to ensure it is in your best interests.

An IMCA can also be appointed in adult protection/safeguarding cases and care reviews if required.

An IMCA also provides a role within Deprivation of Liberties Safeguarding.

If you have been assessed as lacking capacity and the Local Authority is considering whether to restrict your liberties to keep you safe, you are entitled to an IMCA if there is no one else appropriate.

The safeguards are intended to protect you by preventing arbitrary decisions that deprive vulnerable people of their liberty. If you do need to be deprived of your liberty the safeguards are intended to provide representatives, rights of appeal and for the “deprivation” to be reviewed and monitored. In this case, an IMCA would similarly gather information about you, and your life, to inform the decision and ensure it is made in your best interests.

All referrals for a DoLS IMCA need to come through the Local Authority.

Paid Representative

The Paid Representative Service is an area of work created by the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLS).

If you are deprived of your liberty you will have a representative appointed, preferably a family member or suitable close acquaintance. However, if you do not have anyone who can act in that way for you, then you will be appointed a paid representative who must be independent of the Local Authority or Primary Care Trust who appoints them.

The role of the representative is:

  • To maintain contact you
  • To represent and support you in all matters relating to DOLS, including, if appropriate, triggering a review, using an organisation’s complaints procedure on your behalf or making an application to the court of protection.

How to access the IMCA services

Referral to this service is usually by the decision maker (others can make the referral but the decision maker should be aware).

If the person is in Hampshire, contact Hampshire IMCA on 023 8020 8955 or email the referral form to hampshireimca@solentmind.org.uk

Community Advocacy

We work with people with mental health problems across Hampshire to safeguard their rights, access services, empower them to make informed decisions about their care, and take greater control of their lives.

You might require an advocate if you need someone to:

  • Listen to you
  • Help you speak up
  • Help you to understand your rights
  • Communicate with professionals

To be eligible, you must be living in Hampshire and be receiving a Local Authority service.

Please note that due to current demands, we can only work with individuals if they need advocacy around accessing mental health support services.

How to access this service

This is a self-referral service; alternatively, you can ask to be referred by hospital or social care staff, or a family member. You can self-refer using the form below or contact the office on 023 8020 8955 or email info@hampshireadvocacy.org.uk for more information.

Care Act Advocacy

The Care Act 2014 ensures that anyone who needs support to engage with local authority processes, and has no-one appropriate to help, will get an advocate.

If your Care Manager is undertaking an assessment of your needs, planning for your care, or reviewing the support for your care you are entitled to have someone to help you take part in the process, and ensure that your wellbeing is at the centre of all decision making.

A Care Act Advocate can also be involved if there is a safeguarding enquiry to ensure that you can engage in the process.

A Care Act Advocate will find out information about you and your wishes to inform the decisions. They will also help you participate in these processes and make sure that you are involved at every stage.

You are entitled by law to a Care Act Advocate if you have substantial difficulty in taking part, and have no one else who is appropriate to do this role.

Your Care Manager will need to agree that you have substantial difficulty in being involved.

If you are a vulnerable person, have a care need or are a carer, young carer or young person in transition and you would have difficulty in being involved in these processes, you can ask your Care Manager to make a referral. You can speak to us for more information on 023 8020 8955 or email info@hampshireadvocacy.org.uk

For a referral form, please click the link below

For advocacy support for other needs including learning disabilities, children’s advocacy and self-advocacy groups, please contact the Hampshire Advocacy single point of access on 023 8020 8955 or via email info@hampshireadvocacy.org.uk.

Havant & East Hants Mind

Our Local Mind Partner, Havant and East Hants Mind will provide the above services if you live in East Hampshire.


Our partners Choices Advocacy and Speakeasy Advocacy will provide other community advocacy service, Care Act Advocacy, Children’s Advocacy and Learning Disability Advocacy.

Choices Advocacy Speakeasy Advocacy
www.choicesadvocacy.org.uk  www.speakeasyadvocacy.org.uk

Our partners, Winchester Gold will provide learning disability advocacy in Winchester

Winchester Gold

You can make any referral for any service through info@hampshireadvocacy.org.uk or by calling 023 8020 8955

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