The Mental Health Act & You

Many of our service users are in a Cygnet hospital because they have been detained under a section of the Mental Health Act (1983). The Act requires that detained patients are given information about their legal position and their rights both orally and in writing. This information will include why they are detained and how long this detention can last, how to appeal against detention and information about consent to treatment and how to access support from an Independent Mental Health Advocate.

What is the Mental Health Act?

The Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) is a piece of legislation which allows medical professionals involved in your care to ensure that you are admitted to hospital to be assessed and to be treated for your mental health problems, this can be done without your agreement.

This is known as being sectioned or detained under the MHA. You can be sectioned if your own health or safety is at risk, or for the protection of other people. You may hear the following terms to describe your admission to hospital under a section of the MHA:

  • Detention or involuntary detention
  • Compulsory admission to hospital
  • Being sectioned
  • Being a formal patient

Compulsory Admission to Hospital

Compulsory admission consists of parts 2 & 3 of the Mental Health Act 1983. Part 2 of the Act deals with patients who are detained in hospital but have no criminal proceedings against them. These are referred to as civil sections. Part 3 of Act, known as the ‘Forensic Sections’, deals with patients who have been involved in criminal proceedings.

Before you can be lawfully sectioned, you will need to be assessed by a team of professionals to ensure that it is necessary.

Information about the Mental Health Act is also available in Easy Read format on the NHS Choices website.

To find out more about the different types of section please click on the links below: