Tom's Story

I felt like I was listened to and in control of my meetings


Tom is 40 years old and lives in Warrington with his teenage son. Tom is well known to the community mental health team and has accessed the local specialist mental health respite placement when experiencing periods of crisis. Tom has had many admissions to psychiatric hospitals in the past, due to experiencing psychotic episodes. Tom is employed and values his job, seeing it as having an important role in helping stabilise his mental health.

Advocacy need

Tom was struggling with his mental health in the community. Contributing factors included mental health professionals arriving late for their home visits, not taking his medication regularly, housing issues and dealing with the emotional impact of historic assault.

Tom was detained under section 2 of the Mental Health Act and his son was placed in temporary foster care. Tom was referred by the ward for an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA). Tom had previously been supported by Speak Up’s mental health engagement worker whilst residing in a local crisis placement so had also contacted them to request advocacy support whilst on the ward.

How we helped

The IMHA liaised with Speak Up’s engagement worker to gain a brief background to aid in the advocacy support. The IMHA visited Tom on the ward, explained the advocacy role and informed him of his rights. The IMHA supported Tom to prepare for his ward round by completing a ward round submission form, sharing his views and wishes in regards to his care and treatment. In addition, following discharge the IMHA was able to signpost Tom to a local organisation to provide counselling support in relation to the historic assault and to a housing organisation to address Tom’s housing issues.

Tom shared that he wanted to appeal his section and the IMHA supported him to contact a solicitor on his behalf and submit the appeal to the Mental Health Administrator. Tom shared it was very important to him to have a male solicitor and the legal firm accommodated this.


Tom shared that the ward round went well and that he had the confidence to advocate for himself using the ward submission form as an effective tool.

Tom’s CPN reassured that she would try harder to arrive for visits on time. Tom hod discussions with the pharmacist around medication as he hod concerns around side-affects. Unescorted section 17 leave was granted by the responsible clinician and Tom spent time with his son in the community. Although Tom’s appeal was declined by the tribunal service he was in agreement to the section as he felt an extended period of care and treatment would be beneficial.

Tom requested the support of the IMHA in his next ward round as he wanted to request discharge and felt he needed advocacy support to raise this issue. The IMHA supported Tom to prepare by writing down the questions and points he wanted to raise.

Within the ward round the staff shared that Tom was making good progress, taking his medication and utilising appropriately his section 17 leave. With Tom’s consent the ward had provided an update to his employer and arranged an appointment with their occupational therapist to support with his transition to work. In addition, the responsible clinician had written a supporting letter to share with housing to support Tom to move to a different area within Warrington.

Tom’s wish to be discharged was granted and the children’s social worker mode contact to arrange for his son to return to his care at home.