We all know how frustrating it can be when people aren't listening to us. Unfortunately, having a mental health problem can sometimes mean it's even harder to have your opinions and ideas taken seriously by others. This can be very difficult to deal with, especially when you need to communicate frequently with health and social care professionals. You might find they don't always offer you all the opportunities and choices you would like, or involve you fully in decisions about your care.
What is advocacy?
It means getting support from another person to help you express your views and wishes, and help you stand up for your rights. Someone who helps you in this way is called your advocate.
There are different types of advocates:
- an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA)
- an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate
- a Paid Relevant Persons Representative
- a Care Act Advocate
- a Non-Statutory (General) Advocate
All our advocates are here to give you a guiding hand and make sure you have acces to all of the information you need and that you’re getting the best possible care for you.
We'll always listen to your needs and concerns and put you first.That's the way it should be.
What can we do for you?
• Help you be more involved in decisions about your care
• Explain how the Mental Health Act affects you
• Help you understand your rights and how to use them
• Help you get information about and understand any treatment you are being offered or given
• Support you at meetings, ward rounds, and mental health review tribunals
• Talk to people involved in your treatment and care, and find out information for you
• Look at your medical records for you, if you agree and give permission
Who is this service for?
Our advocates can work with you if you are:
- Detained or sectioned under the Mental Health Act (except emergency sections)
- Conditionally discharged or receiving supervised community treatment
- Subject to Guardianship
- Considering serious treatment such as neurosurgery or ECT for under 18s
What happens next?
All referrals to our Advocacy service must go through the People First Independent Advocacy Hub.
You can contact them yourself on 03003 038 037 or ask a hospital staff member, a relative or another professional to contact them.
When you speak to them you can request an Advocate from Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind.