Mental Health Act 1983 - Support available
You might find that being taken to hospital against your will is stressful and upsetting. You may find it useful to get support from an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA).
The aim of an IMHA is to help you make decisions about your care and treatment. They can also help you find out what your rights are. You can ask about seeing an IMHA when you are in hospital. The hospital staff should give you details of the service.
You can’t get help from an IMHA if you are under an emergency section (Section 4), holding powers of the Mental Health Act (Section 5), or in a place of safety under police powers (section 135 or 136). If you are an informal or voluntary patient (meaning you are in hospital but not under section), you are not able to access an IMHA unless you are being considered for neurosurgery for your mental disorder, or are under 18 and are being considered for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
If you are under the Mental Health Act and wish to appeal, you can get free legal representation at your Tribunal under the Legal Aid scheme. The ward you are on is likely to have a list of mental health solicitors who will be able to advise and represent you. You can also search for mental health solicitors on the Civil Legal Advice website or by calling Civil Legal Advice on 0845 345 4 345 (Monday to Friday 9am to 8pm, Saturday 9am to 12.30pm).
You can still get advice from a solicitor if you have help from an IMHA.
Need practical advice & info? We can help.
Contact our Advice team about mental health & related issues
0300 5000 927 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm, not including bank holidays