Doing the Right Thing: Mental Health Nursing Support for Independent Advocacy

Mckeown, Michael orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0235-1923, Ridley, Julie orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-0879-308X and Fleischmann, Pete (2015) Doing the Right Thing: Mental Health Nursing Support for Independent Advocacy. Mental Health Nursing, 35 (3). pp. 10-12.

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‘The essence of our job is to have a meaningful dialogue with our service users... it’s fantastic from my point of view that an advocate helps the staff have a dialogue with a patient. So we should always see that as a huge opportunity, as a huge benefit’ (Matron: from independent mental health advocacy film for staff).
The reform of the 1983 Mental Health Act, leading to the revised 2007 legislation, included for the first time a statutory right to independent advocacy for persons subject to compulsion under mental health law in England and Wales.
This legal entitlement was accompanied with a range of formal expectations for nurses and other practitioners to provide
support for the right to advocacy and enable service users to access advocates.
Between 2010 and 2012 a team of academics and peer researchers from the University of Central Lancashire undertook the first national review of independent mental health advocacy (Newbigging et al, 2012) for the Department of Health.
The team went on to co-produce a suite of 12 resources (films, briefings and tools) with the Social Care Institute for Excellence that
assist practitioners meet their obligations to support independent mental health advocates as well as better inform service users of their
statutory rights.
This short article sets these in context for mental health nurses and provides details regarding how they can be freely accessed.

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