The Mental Health Act and Guardianship

7. The key roles

Nearest relative

The nearest relative is generally the person who comes first in the following list: husband, wife or civil partner; son or daughter; father or mother; brother or sister; grandparent; grandchild; uncle or aunt; nephew or niece; someone (not a relative) that the person has lived with for at least the last five years.

Independent mental health advocate (IMHA)

A person detained in hospital under the Act has the right to access an independent mental health advocate who will explain their rights and how they can challenge their detention. Advocates have access to the person's medical records and operate independently from the hospital.

Approved mental health professional (AMHP)

A professional who has had special training to help people in relation to the Mental Health Act. They might be a social worker or mental health professional (such as a community psychiatric nurse).