A national mental health advocacy qualification is to be launched by the government.
The trained “independent mental health advocates” (IMHAs) will support detained patients who, under new mental health law, are entitled to independent support and advice on their rights.
Patients under a community treatment order will also be entitled to an IMHA.
The advocacy service, part of the new Mental Health Act which came into force in November last year, is already available in Wales.
The advocacy qualification will include four core modules on generic advocacy, and several specialist modules, including an IMHA module.
Details were included in the government’s publication last month of commissioning guidelines on IMHAs for primary care trusts.
* See Department of Health guidelines on IMHAs