Part 4 - Mental Health Advocacy

The Mental Health (Wales) Measure 2010 which was introduced by the Welsh Governmetnt in March 2010 and received Royal Approval in December 2010.

The Measure will make a number of important changes to the current legislative arrangements in respect of the assessment and treatment of people with mental health problems in Wales.

A Measure is a piece of law made by the National Assembly for Wales. It has similar effect to an Act of Parliament.

The Mental Health (Wales) Measure 2010 sets out new statutory provisions in the following 4 distinct areas:

Mental Health Advocacy

Evidence suggests that advocacy can lead to an improved experience of mental health services for individuals, including the potential for advocacy to create choice, improve involvement in decision making, and promote access to a range of different services.

The Measure provides for an expanded statutory scheme of independent mental health advocacy, both for patients subject to complusion under the Mental Health Act 1983, and for thoses in hospital informally (in other workds, not subject to the 1983 Act).

The Measure achieves this by amending the relevant sections of the Mental Health Act 1983 which currently enables patients subject to the longer-term sections to receive help and support from an Independent Mental Health Advocate (or IMHA). IMHAs are not available to those patients on the shorter term sections of the Act.

The Measure will provide that many of these patients can receive IMHA support if they wish. The expansion of the independent mental health advocacy scheme in this way will ensure that the majority of individuals subject to the 1983 Act are able to receive independent help and support from an advocate if they wish to. 

Many patients receiving care and treatment in hospital for their mental health problems are not detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 but are voluntary (or informal) patients.

These patients sometimes require help from an advocate during their stay in hospital, but such services may not always be available.

The Measure will create statutory duties to ensure such help and support is available for all inpatients. Such advocacy will assist inpatients in making informed decisions about their care and treatment, and support them in getting their voices heard.

Further information on the Mental Health (Wales) Measure is available from:

Alternatively, contact WaMH in PC via email at or on 029 2050 4516.