Sunderland IMHA Service

Telephone: 0191 5437890

Address: Room 1QD North Sands Business Centre, Liberty Way, Sunderland, SR6 0QA

What you can expect from us:

Total Voice Sunderland is a service delivered in partnership between MHM and Voiceability. We work across the city of Sunderland, offering a range of advocacy for people living in the area. We provide:

Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)

Qualifying patients detained under the Mental Health Act are entitled to an independent advocate. An IMHA will represent you and support you with:

  • Understanding and exercising your rights under the Mental Health Act
  • Being fully involved in your care planning
  • Your access to Mental Health Review Tribunals, preparing for them and understanding decisions made
  • Your access to other support or services
  • Discussing appropriate aftercare
  • How to raise concerns about your experience/care

Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)

IMCAs support and represent people who lack mental capacity. They can help with situations such as:

  • When decisions need to be made about serious medical treatment, accommodation, deprivation of liberty and in some circumstances safeguarding proceedings and care reviews.
  • Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and Relevant Person’s Representation

A referral can be made by a supervisory body. You will need to check your local authority guidelines about when you can refer for care reviews and safeguarding proceedings. If you are the decision maker, you will need to confirm whether family and friends are ‘appropriate’ to consult.

Referrals can be made for a ‘Litigation Friend’ by the Local Authority. They can also be appointed by the court.

Care Act Advocacy

The Care Act 2014 set out how people’s care and support needs should be met and has introduced the right for an assessment for anyone, including carers and self-funders, in need of support. The Care Act focuses on people who are 18 and over who need care and support. The aim of the Care Act is to enable people to have more control over their lives and promote independence.

If an individual were to experience ‘substantial difficulty’ when engaging with their care and support process then they may be able to utilise the advocacy service. An independent advocate will strive to keep the individual at the centre of the process and work with the service user to make their own decisions. In addition advocates can support people to understand the care procedures and help to communicate their feelings and wishes.

Under the Care Act, advocates are available to support people to plan and remain involved in:

  • Care assessments
  • Care and support planning
  • Care and support reviews
  • Safeguarding enquiries
  • Safeguarding adult reviews

What will your advocate do?

  • Listen to you and treat you with respect
  • Be on your side
  • Support you to tell people what you think
  • Make sure you are fully involved in decisions being made about you
  • Help you to find out information, so you can make your own decision
  • Help you explore and understand your rights

Who is the service for?

We represent and support people aged over 18 who live in Sunderland, particularly people who have:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Autism spectrum conditions
  • Physical disabilities, including sensory impairment
  • Mental health needs
  • Substance misuse issues
  • Older People aged 65 years and over
  • Any Adult at Risk who requires support through the safeguarding adults process.

How to access the service:

We are happy to take referrals from anybody who wants to use our service (including patients detained in Hospital or under treatment in the community), or referrals on their behalf from health/social care professionals, friends or family members and other voluntary organisations.
Referrals can be made by completing one of our referral forms below or contacting our referral helpline on 0191 5163559. Completed referral forms can be sent to referrals.sunderland@voiceability.org

IMCA Referral form

IMHA referral form

Care Act Advocacy Referral Form

If you need some guidance on making a referral or whether the service is right for you, contact us to discuss any situation and we will discuss the best way forward for the person involved.

Where are we?