This post is to give some more background on the Mental Health System here in the UK and also to gather my thoughts so I can explain a few key things to various of our friends as required.
Taken from Rethink: Living with Mental Illness
Italics Are from Me
I have already commented about the procedure and number of people required to section someone…
Section 2 allows a person to be admitted to hospital for an assessment of their mental health and receive any necessary treatment. The assessment can be to decide whether you suffer from a mental disorder, which type of mental disorder you have or how you might respond to treatment.
The important thing about this is the distinction between this section and section 3 which is for people already known to the mental health services and is based around treatment (without the requirement for assessment) and has different rules of application
An admission to hospital under Section 2 is usually used when you have not been assessed in hospital before or when you have not been assessed in hospital for a considerable period of time.
In other words when they don’t know what is going to help – it allows them to set up a treatment plan as well as deal with the immediate crisis
You can be detained for up to 28 days but this does not necessarily mean you will be. Section 2 cannot be renewed but you may be transferred onto a section 3 (which can last up to 6 months and CAN be renewed – however in order to be transferred you have to go through the process with the approved mental health practitioner and 2 drs – I think)
- You should be given a Patient Rights Leaflet Number 6 by a member of the hospital staff which explains your legal rights.
- You have the right to appeal against detention to a Tribunal during the first 14 days that you are detained.
- You can also ask for a list of mental health solicitors who will be able to advise and represent you. People detained under the Mental Health Act are entitled to free legal representation at Tribunals under the Legal Aid scheme.
- You also have the right to appeal to the Mental Health Act managers. You are entitled to request the assistance of a Independent Mental Health Advocates (IMHA) who can assist you to raise any issues you have in relation to your care and treatment. The key thing is that despite being detained you still have some rights including to appeal.
Under Section 2, you do not have the right to refuse treatment. Some treatments cannot be given to you without your consent unless specific criteria are fulfilled. These treatments include Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)(This also applies to medication after 3 months of treatment; the act sets out that a Dr appointed by the commision, a nurse involved in the person’s treatment and one other professional involved in treatment who is neither a dr nor a nurse must agree a care plan which cannot be changed without re-certifying) . If you are unhappy about the treatment you are receiving you should talk to your named nurse or psychiatrist. An Independent Mental Health Advocates (IMHA) may be able to help you put your case forward.
The next important issue is that of your Nearest Relative – who this is strictly determined by the act and can only be changed by legal displacement – the NR has certain rights set out by the act including applying for a person’s discharge but I think that this whole issue requires a separate post….