What you Need to Know About Mental Health Sectioning

A person can be sectioned under the Section 2 Mental Health Act for a number of reasons. But if this has happened to someone you love, you might be wondering what this means and what their rights are.

Mental health sectioning is when someone is kept in hospital under the Mental Health Act for their own safety and the safety of others.

They are then detained to be assessed by professionals to see if further treatment is needed.

Reasons Someone Can Be Detained Under Section 2

There may be a couple of reasons why a person has been detained under the Mental Health Act, including:

  • They have a confirmed mental disorder.
  • They are a threat to other people’s safety.
  • They are a threat to their own safety.
  • They need to be assessed to see if medical treatment is needed to help their mental wellbeing.

Only a health professional can detain someone with a valid reason. It could be because they thought the individual’s mental state is at risk and needs professional treatment.

The individual will be assessed by an approved mental health professional plus two doctors, one of which should be the person’s GP and the other is approved by Section 12.

What Happens After the Assessment?

When someone is sectioned, they can stay in hospital for up to 28 days and this time frame can’t be extended. They have to be assessed within these 28 days and, if needed, can be sectioned further with Section 3.

However, they can only be detained under Section 3 for one of the following reasons:

  • The assessment confirms they have a mental disorder.
  • They have to be treated in a specialised hospital.
  • They are still at risk of harm to themselves or to others.

A person can be detained for a maximum of six months under the Section 3 Mental Health Act and this can be extended if necessary, with no limit on how many times this can be extended.

Appealing Under Section 2

When an individual is detained, they have up to 14 days to appeal their Section 2 mental health sectioning.

This can be done in two ways. One way is to request the hospital manager to discharge you, the other is to go to the Mental Health Tribunal and ask to be taken out of the hospital.

The hospital manager is on hand to make sure the Mental Health Act is being followed accurately, so if they think someone is being detained unfairly and their rights are being abused, it’s their duty to make sure something is done about it.

Staff members can also help get an appeal sorted.

Know Your Rights

Every individual has rights when spending time in hospital, so it’s important to remember what they are so you can speak out if you think your rights are being abused.

You have the right to:

  • Any information about why you have been detained, why you’re in hospital, why you need treatment and why you have been sectioned under any Mental Health Act.
  • Request any detail about your treatment, your consent to being treated, your rights of appeal and how you can get in touch with a solicitor if you want to.
  • Ask how to make a complaint if you need to.
  • Request information about safeguarding.
  • Having visitors and details about the Care Quality Commission.

Read More on The Mental Health Act 1983 Code of Practice

When someone is detained under the Mental Health Act, they can request to see a copy of the Mental Health Act 1983 Code of Practice. This is what professionals follow when looking after a detained individual, so it can be useful to understand what they should and shouldn’t be doing.

It also acts as a useful guide for family members to understand how professionals can treat their loved ones.

If you or a loved one is ever detained under Section 2 Mental Health Act and you think the reason is invalid, contact a solicitor who can provide advice and help with setting up an appeal. You can then take the necessary action required.

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