Support . Empower . Advocate . Promote

Inspiring story from one our Supervising Independent Mental Health Advocates (IMHAs)

Posted: 31st July 2013 by seAp IMHA Advocate

“If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear“ {Winnie the Pooh} 

My brother’s life story is my inspiration to work as an IMHA.

His life consisted of care homes, boarding schools, Young Offenders Institutes and prisons.

He did some scary stuff, he experienced some scary stuff.

I knew where he came from. 

Eleven years ago, at the age of 34, my brother found himself in a rehabilitation home for males with acquired brain injury. I was tiring of my mum dictating my brother’s care pathway and neglecting his needs. I engaged with my brother’s key worker and social worker.

 A meeting with a psychologist and what we now know to be a MDT, was arranged.

This was the time for HIS point of view to be heard.

This was the time for HIS wishes to be expressed.

And doing so with the support of his sister, me.


At the time I didn’t have an understanding of advocacy. Just a sister’s love and care with a little stubbornness thrown in. My brother died a week before the meeting was to be held.

He never got to have his say.

He never got to be recognised for the learning difficulties he lived with.

He never got to be recognised for a mental health condition which was unique to him. 

My passion for him to be heard drove me on when he was alive. My passion for everyone to be heard drives me on today.

And how I smile inside when I know my client has felt heard, valued and respected.

Clients may not always get what they want but even to have the ‘No’s’ explained can make a difference.

Those clients that smile, say “thank you” and become confident and courageous enough to self-advocate, make my job worth committing to.

It makes those challenges worth rising to. For each of these clients, I hold hope that many more will experience the benefits of being heard. 

This is not a story of great sorrow, to be avoided or ignored due to the loss and love.

I share it to show me as a person with a career as an IMHA.

The real me, and the real and honest reasons I am doing my amazing job. 

“You can’t always sit in your corner of the forest and wait for people to come to you…you have to go to them sometimes” {Winnie the Pooh}


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