Legal Eagle: Valuable advice and guidance around the Mental Health Act
How can I be detained under the Mental Health Act?
In order to be detained three professionals must carry out a Mental Health Act assessment. The three professionals consist of an approved mental health professional (AMHP) and two doctors. One of the doctors must be a “Section 12 approved doctor”, and if possible one of the doctors should have previously met you. Your “Nearest Relative” can also apply for you to be detained under the Mental Health Act.
Can I refuse a Mental Health Act assessment?
Yes. However, if you refuse a Mental Health Act assessment, the AMHP can apply to court for a warrant. A warrant allows the police to enter your home and take you somewhere safe.
How long can I be detained under the Mental Health Act for?
The most common types of “sections” under the Mental Health Act are Section 2 and Section 3.
Section 2 allows for admission into hospital for the purpose of assessment and this can last up to 28 days.
Section 3 allows for detention in hospital for treatment of mental health. The section can initially last for up to six months before being renewed. The section 3 can be extended by a doctor for a further six months and then every 12 months after that.
How can I appeal my detention?
You can appeal to the Mental Health Tribunal against your section. 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.
I have already used my right to appeal to the Tribunal, what should I do?
You can request a Hospital Managers Hearing at any time during your detention and the Hospital Managers have the power to discharge you from a section 2 or 3.