Not all admission to psychiatric hospital requires the use of the Mental Health Act. Some people are admitted informally and others maybe supported at home by the Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust, Crisis Team. In Telford and Wrekin this team is based at Halls Court, Jordan House, Hall Park Way, Town Centre, Telford, TF3 4NF.
The Mental Health Act
The Mental Health Act (1983) is the main piece of legislation that covers the assessment, treatment and rights of people with a mental health disorder.
The Mental Health Act Code of Practice tells everyone how to use this law and what they must do.
It's important that you know what happens to you when you're detained, what your rights are, and where you can seek help.
For more information about being sectioned under the Mental Health Act, visit:
What does 'being sectioned' mean?
Being ‘sectioned’ is the term that is often used when someone is detained under the Mental Health Act. The Mental Health Act is the law which can allow someone to be admitted, detained (or kept) and treated in hospital against their wishes. It can be a very distressing experience for the person, and their family and friends, and will generally be used only if all other options have been considered, for instance looking at whether support can be provided in the community or if someone would agree to go into hospital voluntarily.
Why would someone be sectioned?
The Mental Health Act would only be considered if someone was very unwell and will never be taken lightly.
Someone needs to meet certain criteria in order to be sectioned. This criteria is that the person has to be suffering from a mental disorder of a nature or degree which warrants your detention in a hospital for assessment or treatment and that you ought to be detained in the interests of your own health, your own safety or with a view to the protection of others. (Mental disorder is a broad term that includes conditions like schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder or personality disorder).
How is someone actually sectioned?
The decision to section someone will be taken after a Mental Health Act assessment. There are many different ways that it can get to this stage.
It may be that someone is already in touch with a mental health team who are so concerned about their current mental health that they arrange an assessment. In some situations, a person’s family could be so concerned that they contact the local mental health team or crisis team themselves, and may request an assessment, or it could be that emergency services have to be called if the situation has become very urgent, which could lead to an assessment.
Someone can be sectioned if three people involved in a Mental Health Act assessment agree that the person needs to be detained in hospital and meets the criteria just mentioned. Usually, these three people are an Approved Mental Health Professional (who is a professional, such as a Social Worker, who has had extra training to carry out these assessments), and two doctors. If possible, one of these doctors should know the person. A Mental Health Act assessment may be carried out at someone’s home. If this situation, police may be present, which can be very distressing.
The Approved Mental Health Professional may speak to someone’s nearest relative or carer when considering admitting someone to hospital under a section. If someone is going to be detained under a Section 3, which is used in order to treat someone for a mental illness, someone’s nearest relative has to be spoken to beforehand. The nearest relative. is someone who is defined under a hierarchy of relatives in the Mental Health Act, and it is not necessarily going to be the same person as someone’s next of kin. The nearest relative has certain rights under the Mental Health Act.
In the nearest relative hierarchy, someone’s husband/wife/civil partner/partner that they have cohabited with for more than six months, oldest adult son or daughter and oldest parent all come before oldest sibling in the hierarchy.
If you are worried that someone is unwell and may need to be in hospital, you might think they need to be assessed under the Mental Health Act. There are a number of options that you could use to try and get someone help during a mental health crisis. As previously mentioned, the Mental Health Act is never an option that should be taken lightly or explored before other options have been fully considered. Unfortunately, sometimes despite best efforts of friends and family, and professional services, other options may not have worked (e.g. providing support and treatment at home, or offering an informal admission).
At this stage the Mental Health Act may be used. The nearest relative has the right to request that a Mental Health Act assessment is considered for their relative under a particular section of the Mental Health Act and they can contact either contact the ACCESS Team at Redwoods on 03001240365 or Telford & Wrekin’s Adult Social Care Mental Health Team on 01952 385385.
You may not be the nearest relative. However, if you are very concerned about someone and feel that the Mental Health Act may be necessary, then there are other ways you can request this help, such as contacting the local mental health services with your concerns on the above telephone numbers.
For further information on issues covered in these questions, please see these useful websites:
- Mind - information and support
- Rethink - our mental health advice
- Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust.
Someone to speak on your behalf
People who are admitted to hospital under the Mental Health Act are entitled to help from an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA). The advocate is a person who is independent of the hospital and is employed to speak on your behalf. They can help you discuss your feelings about your care and what support you may need in the future.
You should automatically be offered the support of an IMHA by hospital staff. They can be contacted on 01743 361702.
Mental health aftercare
If you have been formally admitted to hospital your care team will arrange a discharge planning meeting with you whilst still an inpatient to explore the support you need after you leave hospital.
For more information on mental health aftercare:
Easy read information
- NHS website - Mental Health Act: your rights - easy read.
- GOV.UK - Mental Health Act 1983: Code of Practice.
- Social care institute for excellence - understanding Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) for people who use services.
Last updated: 9.30am on Tuesday 5 November 2019