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Mental Health Advocacy Service
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About us

The statutory office of the Chief Mental Health Advocate is created by part 20 of the Mental Health Act 2014 (the Act). It is an independent body called the Mental Health Advocacy Service (MHAS), providing mental health advocacy services, and rights protection functions, to ‘identified persons’.

The Act expands the work of Official Visitors through the broadening of the definition of people who the mental health advocates can assist to ‘identified persons’, and by including a requirement to contact or visit involuntary patients within 7 days of being made involuntary (and children under 18 within 24 hours).

Identified persons are persons who are:

  • an involuntary patient in hospital
  • someone on a Community Treatment Order (CTO)
  • someone who has been referred for examination by a psychiatrist (they must let you use a phone to call us if you are being detained)
  • a voluntary patient in hospital who is not allowed to leave because you are being detained for assessment
  • a mentally impaired accused person under the Criminal Law (Mentally Impaired Accused) Act 1996 (e.g. on a Hospital or Custody Order) and are detained in an authorised hospital or living in the community
  • a resident of a private psychiatric hostel.