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The Mental Health Act (1983)
Usually, people are treated and in hospital voluntarily
There are cases when a person can be detained, known as sectioned, under the Mental Health Act (1983) and therefore treated without their consent
The Mental Health Act (1983) is the main piece of legislation that covers the assessment, treatment, and rights of people with a mental disorder
People who are detained under the act need urgent treatment for a mental health disorder and are at risk of harm to themselves and others
If your loved one has been detained under the act they will have to stay in hospital until the doctors or a mental health tribunal decide otherwise
You have the right to visit
In some cases, the patient may refuse visitors, which the hospital will respect
If you cannot visit, the hospital will explain why
If your loved one agrees, doctors may discuss the treatment plan with you
An emergency is when someone seems to be at serious risk of harming themselves or others
Police have power to enter your home if they need by force under a section 135 warrant
You may be taken to a place of safety for an assessment by an approved mental health professional and a doctor
You can be kept there until the assessment is complete, up to 24 hours which can be extended to 36.
If police find you in a public place and you appear to have a mental health disorder and need immediate care or control, they can take you to a place of safety and detain you under Section 136
If you're already in hospital, certain nurses can stop you leaving under Section 5(4) until the doctor in charge of your care or treatment, or their nominated deputy, can decide about whether to detain you there under Section 5(2)
Section 5(4) gives nurses the ability to detain someone in hospital for up to 6 hours.
Section 5(2) gives doctors the ability to detain someone in hospital for up to 72 hours, during which time you should receive an assessment that decides if further detention under the Mental Health Act is necessary
In most non-emergency cases, family members, a GP, carer, or other professionals may voice concerns about your mental health
They should discuss this with you, and together you should decide about what help you may need, such as making an appointment with your GP to discuss further options.
But there may be times when there are sufficient concerns about your mental health and your ability to make use of the help offered.
In these circumstances your relatives or the professionals involved in your care can ask for a formal assessment of your mental health through the Mental Health Act process
Your nearest relative has the right to ask the local approved mental health professional service, which may be run by local social care services, for an assessment under the Mental Health Act
It's also possible for a court to consider using the Mental Health Act in some circumstances, or for a transfer to a hospital to take place from prison.
As part of this formal process, you'll be assessed by doctors and an approved mental health professional.
One of the doctors must be specially certified as having experience in the assessment or treatment of mental illness.