We want to provide you or the person you care for with help and support as soon as we can. Unfortunately, it can sometimes take a while for an appointment with a mental health professional or for a transfer to another service.
Even though this can be a frustrating time, there are things you can do to help while waiting for mental health services. We have listed some ideas on the Waiting Well section of this website and in our Waiting Well leaflet. Try any of these and find what helps. Don’t worry if one thing doesn’t work for you; try something else.
Who can help make sure your voice is heard?
Advocacy is about making sure that someone gets their views heard. Most people are able to speak up for themselves, but sometimes we all need some help. An advocate does not tell you what they would do: they help you to decide what you want. Advocates respect your views, work together with you and do not judge your choices. You can access different types of advocacy support, this may depend on where you live or what you need help with. This leaflet explains who you can contact to get the right help.
Some people who experience mental health problems are detained under the Mental Health Act. People who are sectioned can use the services of a specialist advocate called an IMHA (Independent Mental Health Advocate). The IMHA service is free and every area has to provide the service. Information on how to contact an IMHA should be given to you if you are sectioned, admitted or accepted into guardianship or placed on a community treatment order.
Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy
Some people may lack the capacity to take decisions in certain specific, important situations. They may also be particularly vulnerable because they have no close relative or friends, or any other person to protect their interests. Independent Mental Capacity Advocates (IMCA) can support andrepresent people in this situation. They
look at the way particular decisions are being
made but do not make the decisions on someone’s behalf.
The IMCA service also provide representatives as part of the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DOLs) requirements which ensure that someone is only deprived of their liberty when it is in their best interest.
If you wish to make a complaint about an NHS funded service, either regarding your own treatment or that of a family member, child or carer
then you can use the NHS Complaints Advocacy Service. This service is free and confidential and it can help you understand your rights, assist with
complaints, applications and support people at meetings.
Advocacy rights under the Care Act 2014
In April 2015 the Care Act became law. This places a new requirement on local authorities with statutory responsibility for social care. The act requires local authorities to ensure that people are fully involved in their assessments, reviews and the development of their support plans, safeguarding enquiries and reviews. If someone is likely to have ‘substantial difficulty’ in being involved, and if they do not have an ‘appropriate person’ to support and represent them, then the local authority has a duty to arrange independent advocacy.
Some people may be eligibly for support from an advocate for other issues that are affecting their daily lives, such as debt, housing and accessing public services.