In April Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) released its co-produced external evaluation and self-advocacy resources.
What is IMHA?
IMHA is a specialist non-legal advocacy service that supports consumers who are receiving compulsory mental health treatment to understand and exercise their rights under the Victorian Mental Health Act 2014.
IMHA works directly with consumers, providing information about their rights, discussing their options, supporting them to speak up, and talking to their treating teams directly.
What did the evaluation say?
The independent evaluation was coordinated by RMIT’s Social and Global Studies Centre and coproduced with consumers. The evaluation found that IMHA was performing very well in a difficult environment but was not reaching all eligible consumers.
It had several recommendations, including:
- referral to IMHA should be automatic for any person subject to compulsory treatment through an ‘opt-out’ system
- IMHA should to be adequately resourced to meet demand
- IMHA must continue to improve sector awareness and understanding of advocacy
- oversight and funding bodies must coordinate and adequately invest to ensure that services comply with legislation, are recovery-oriented and least-restrictive, and that consumers are supported to make decisions
IMHA’s self-advocacy resources
Self-advocacy is critical to consumers exercising their rights. To support this, IMHA has released a suite of co-produced self-advocacy resources, including:
- Factsheets with information on people’s rights and options
- Videos with accessible information, to be played across mental health services
- Wallet-cards with the critical information someone needs to contact IMHA, connect with their support networks, or exercise their rights
- Self-advocacy workshops that focus on the rights, information and skills involved in speaking up
- Online Self-Help tool (in testing) that assists consumers to make a self-advocacy plan
Disclaimer: This article was provided by Independent Mental Health Advocacy. While every effort has been made to ensure the information is accurate, North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network does not warrant or represent the accuracy, currency and completeness of any information or material included within.