LEGAL EAGLE: Advice on how to get discharged after being sectioned under the Mental Health Act
When someone is “sectioned”, this means that they are detained under the Mental Health Act 1983. In order to be detained under the Mental Health Act, three professionals must carry out a Mental Health Act assessment. These three professionals include an approved mental health professional (AMHP) and two doctors. One of the doctors must be approved under Section 12 of the Act and if possible one of the doctors should have previously met you. You will also have a nearest relative and they too can apply for you to be detained under the Mental Health Act.
Section 2 and Section 3 are the two most common types. Section 2 allows for admission into hospital for the purpose of assessment and this can last up to 28 days. Section 3 allows for admission into hospital for the purpose of treatment and can initially last for up to six months before being renewed. After the six months, a Section 3 can be extended for a further six months and then every 12 months after that.
There are a number of ways to be discharged from your section:
Your responsible clinician can discharge you at any time if they believe that you no longer need to be on a section. Your nearest relative can order your discharge by giving the Hospital Managers 72 hours’ notice in writing of their intention to discharge the section. Your responsible clinician will have to decide within the 72-hour notice period whether to allow your nearest relative to order the discharge or to bar them from doing so. You can also appeal against your section to the Mental Health Tribunal. The Tribunal is a type of court which is independent of the hospital and has the power to discharge your section. If you are placed onto a Section 2, you must apply to the Tribunal within the first 14 days. If you are placed on a Section 3, you can apply to the Tribunal once during each period of detention. You can only appeal against your section once during each period of detention.
Ben Hoare Bell LLP has specialist Mental Health Solicitors who can help with issues surrounding Mental Health law. To speak to a solicitor please contact us on 0191 565 3312 or email [email protected]. Visit www.benhoreabell.co.uk for further information.