Department of Health

Independent Mental Health Advocacy

Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)External Link supports people who are receiving compulsory psychiatric treatment to have as much say as possible about their assessment, treatment and recovery. IMHA advocates are 'on the side' of people receiving compulsory treatment and are independent from hospitals and mental health services.

Advocates are based in Melbourne, Geelong, Bendigo and Dandenong, and support people across Victoria.

Independent Mental Health Advocacy goals

The IMHA approach to advocacy is guided by the principles of the Mental Health Act 2014.

The Act promotes voluntary treatment where ever possible and focuses on recovery.

In particular, IMHA aligns with these principles for the provision of mental health services:

  • they are to be delivered in the least restrictive way possible
  • they will promote recovery and full participation in community life
  • people who are subject to compulsory treatment have the right to take part in decisions about their own assessment, treatment and recovery
  • respect for the rights, dignity and autonomy of people with a mental illness.

Getting help

If you are receiving compulsory treatment our independent advocates can:

  • listen to what you want and talk to you about your options
  • give you information and support to act on your rights
  • work with you so you can have your say
  • refer you to other services if you need.

Call IMHA on 1300 947 820 between 9.30 am and 4.30 pm Monday to Friday or email

Reviewed 16 October 2020


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