The Mental Health Act

This section provides information about detention under The Mental Health Act. This includes the criteria for detention or ‘sectioning’, information about different sections and the rights of someone who has been detained.

  • The Mental Health Act is the law which sets out when you can be admitted, detained and treated in hospital against your wishes. It is also known as being ‘sectioned’.
  • For this to happen, certain people must agree that you have a mental disorder that requires a stay in hospital. There you will have an assessment and be given treatment if needed.
  • This is only done when you are putting your own safety or someone else’s at risk.
  • You can sometimes be given treatment even if you don’t want it.
  • There are different sections of the Mental Health Act that have different aims.
  • You have certain rights under the Mental Health Act, including the right to appeal and the right to get help from an advocate.

Click the links below to download patient information sheets:

Section 2 – Admission to hospital for assessment (may include treatment) for up to 28 days

Section 3 – Admission to hospital for treatment for up to six months

Section 5(2) – Detention of patients already in hospital -Doctors’ holding power for up to 72 hours for assessment 

Section 5(4) – Nurses power to detain a person being treated for mental disorder in hospital in-patient -holding power for up to six hours for assessment 

Section 37 – Admission to hospital by a hospital order imposed by the Court without restrictions 

Section 37/41 – Admission to hospital by a hospital order imposed by the Court with restrictions 

SCT Section 3 – Supervised community treatment for section 3 patients 

Section 7 – Guardianship care provided outside of hospital  where it cannot be provided without the use of the powers available to Guardians for up to six months 

ECT – Electro-convulsive therapy for patients detained in hospital 

Do you require information in a different format or language?

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