Home > Work, Life & Health > Rights of People Detained Under the Mental Health Act

Rights of People Detained Under the Mental Health Act

By: Liz Lennox - Updated: 16 Nov 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Human Rights Mental Health Law Rights

In our society there are those of us that require treatment for something other than broken bones or disease. Mental health is one of those issues that few people are willing to face, if someone has a cast on their leg, you can see immediately what is wrong with them; with mental illness it is difficult to know what to say, or do. We are often shown pictures in TV dramas of sociopaths and the mentally ill, as if they are all to be lumped in the same category: dangerous.

This is prejudice in one of its worst forms, born from a lack of understanding.

While the Mental Health Act and the Courts have not provided a definition, preferring instead to consider each person on a case-by-case basis, there is a general definition of ‘mental illness, arrested or incomplete development of mind, psychopathic disorder and any other disorder or disability of the mind’. This is very general and, since we still know so little about the workings of the human mind; maybe that is right.

The Mental Health Act

While the Act does not give a specific definition, it has given three distinct forms of mental disorder:
  • Severe mental impairment – which is incomplete or arrested mental development, usually with serious aggression.
  • Mental impairment – similar to severe mental impairment but with arrested intelligence and not as high a level of aggression.
  • Psychopathic disorder – which they term a ‘persistent disorder or disability of the mind with abnormal aggression or sociopathic tendencies

Now, I don’t know about you but they all sound fairly similar to me, however, I am not a Doctor so perhaps there are significant differences.

Informal Admission into Hospital

If a person is sufficiently aware that they are suffering from some form of mental illness, then they can choose to be admitted into hospital for treatment, just as they would if they had pneumonia, for example. Once admitted, they retain all their basic rights for care and protection from harm. Their rights are not diminished or restricted just because they may or may not have a mental disorder.

Admission Via the Court

A person can be forced to have mental health treatment if the court or another responsible body, such as social services, deem it necessary for their health and safety. This is known as ‘sectioning’ and is often treated as a last resort. This can be done for up to six months and would need to be renewed at the end of that period if further treatment is required.

An individual can also be admitted against their will for assessment, possibly following treatment, for a period of no longer than 28 days, under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act. If the treatment is unsuccessful or if the medical staff feel that further in-patient treatment is necessary then they cannot simply extend the stay; they must apply for the patient to be ‘sectioned’.

The Police have also been granted various powers to remove a person from their home or from a public place if there is a serious threat to life. They cannot admit someone to a Psychiatric Unit, however, they must deliver them to a hospital where the patient can be detained for up to six hours by the nurse or transferred to the requisite unit by a Doctor.

Patients Rights

During all of this it needs to be remembered that the patients themselves still have rights; they may, for the most part, be able to function in a lucid manner and understand what is happening to them. They are also still entitled to have their needs met in the form of food, housing and protection from abuse and harassment.

Were it not for the circumstance they find themselves in, then they would have every right to claim a breach of their human rights by the very fact that they have been detained, however the European Court of Human Rights, and our own Parliament, has stated that it is lawful to detain someone under these circumstances. In addition, the Mental Health Act goes to great lengths to ensure that patients are made aware of what is happening to them, the treatment they are to receive and that, if they wish, they can apply to the Mental Health Review Tribunal for an independent decision. You can read more about the type of medical treatment you receive and who consents for it here.

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Boom - Your Question:
I got with my partner in January of this year. He staryed off absolutely perfect in every way and I fell madly in love with him.After a couple of months into our relationship he would become loud and aggressive after a few drinks, his behaviour was irrational and he would do bizarre things for attention. When he hadn't been drinking he seemed a normal hard working guy, quiet in fact. When I questioned him about his strange behaviour when sober he would get very defensive and brush it off as just being drunk. Unfortunately over the next few months his behaviour got worse and worse, and on a few occasions when I asked him to leave my home he refused to go, locked me in, hid the keys smashed phone's up and on one occasion he bashed my hand against a wall whilst holding my throat to get my phone from me to stop me phoning the police.the police were called on a number of occasions by my neighbours and once by myself!.I eventually told him we could no longer be together as he was too unstable, I have 2 children and although he had never acted like this in front of them I was very aware that he might do so!.Everything came to a head in August when I told home he had to move out and get some kind of help!.It was very hearbreaking to see the effect this had on him because he truly is a kind, decent,.I was interviewed and asked if I had cut my partners hand with the knife that I had used to cut him down, he also had cut to the back of his head where he had landed when I cut him down, they asked if I had done it with the knife?I was scared to death!.I was then released under investigation.my partner couldn't remember anything he was in intensive care for 6 days but has made a full recovery.because of the seriousness of the accusations made against me social services became involved and I wasn't allowed to be on my own with my children until the investigation was resolved.my children's fathers were notified and my children were put on a child in need order, I had to sign an agreement to say 8 wouldn't have any contact with my ex partner again!.I have stuck to this plan as m6 children come first, they are my life!!!! However I have since been made aware that my ex partner was abused as a child which has led to this behaviour, he is now having psychiatric help in a mental health facility and has asked me through a mutual friend if I would consider a relationship with him if he got better.I want to know, is this even possible? Am I crazy myself even considering it? Trust me he would have to pass every test going to get near my children again!! If I could guarantee I would have the kind sweet loving guy back knowing 100% I would never see that destructive side of him again I would fight for him.After everything I've been through I should hate him but I know that he isnt really that awful man!

Our Response:
We really can't advise you what to do in theses circumstances as we don't know either of your personally. Maybe someone else reading this will have had a similar experience and can share.
AboutHumanRights - 17-Nov-17 @ 10:56 AM
I got with my partner in January of this year.He staryed off absolutely perfect in every way and i fell madly in love with him....After a couple of months into our relationship he would become loud and aggressive after a few drinks, his behaviour was irrational and he would do bizarre things for attention. When he hadn't been drinking he seemed a normal hard working guy, quiet in fact.When I questioned him about his strange behaviour when soberhe would get very defensive and brush it off as just being drunk. Unfortunately over the next few months his behaviour got worse and worse, and on a few occasions when I asked him to leave my home he refused to go, locked me in, hid the keys smashed phone's up and on one occasion he bashed my hand against a wall whilst holding my throat to get my phone from me to stop me phoning the police...the police were called on a number of occasions by my neighbours and once by myself!...I eventually told him we could no longer be together as he was too unstable, I have 2 children and although he had never acted like this in front of them I was very aware that he might do so!...Everything came to a head in August when I told home he had to move out and get some kind of help!..It was very hearbreaking to see the effect this had on him because he truly is a kind, decent, ..I was interviewed and asked if I had cut my partners hand with the knife that I had used to cut him down, he also had cut to the back of his head where he had landed when I cut him down, they asked if I had done it with the knife?...I was scared to death!..I was then released under investigation...my partner couldn't remember anything he was in intensive care for 6 days but has made a full recovery....because of the seriousness of the accusations made against me social services became involved and I wasn't allowed to be on my own with my children until the investigation was resolved...my children's fathers were notified and my children were put on a child in need order, I had to sign an agreement to say 8 wouldn't have any contact with my ex partner again!....I have stuck to this plan as m6 children come first, they are my life!!!! However I have since been made aware that my ex partner was abused as a child whichhas led to this behaviour, he is now having psychiatric help in a mental health facility and has asked me through a mutual friend if I would consider a relationship with him if he got better....I want to know, is this even possible? Am I crazy myself even considering it? Trust me he would have to pass every test going to get near my children again!! If I could guarantee I would have the kind sweet loving guy back knowing 100% I would never see that destructive side of him again I would fight for him...After everything I've been through I should hate him but I know that he isnt really that awful man!
Boom - 16-Nov-17 @ 3:56 AM
i'm living with my partner for 7 months after we were apart for 24 years but now that his living with me i can see him changinghis has really bad mental health problems he has hit me in the pass his not been taking his meds also i'm scared to tell him to go he has hit me but i think he needs to go to hospitali'm really scared of him please if anyone can help me
missb - 14-Oct-17 @ 12:40 PM
ConCerned!!! - Your Question:
My brother-in-law is 53 years old has Schizophrenia and no income or insurance. His mother had to call mobile crisis and place him in a private mental hospital. He didn't like it. Reason for the removable from the home. totally unsure but he is very large aggressive man that is very threatening toward his mother and step-father on a day to day bases. He fought back and attacked a few people and a police officer. They arrested him and took him from that mental hospital and placed him in a state lock down mental ward until the court hearing which he will face 3 assault charges. His mother is worried about what to do since he has no income or insurance. Any advice??? Very Concerned.

Our Response:
Unfortunately our site is UK based and we can only really comment on the UK system. It might be worth asking on a US based website.
AboutHumanRights - 26-Sep-17 @ 2:04 PM
My brother-in-law is 53 years old has Schizophrenia and no income or insurance. His mother had to call mobile crisis and place him in a private mental hospital. He didn't like it. Reason for the removable from the home.... totally unsure but he is very large aggressive man that is very threatening toward his mother and step-father on a day to day bases. He fought back and attacked a few people and a police officer. They arrested him and took him from that mental hospital and placed him in a state lock down mental ward until the court hearing which he will face 3 assault charges. His mother is worried about what to do since he has no income or insurance. Any advice??? Very Concerned.
ConCerned!!! - 25-Sep-17 @ 3:15 AM
Currently being illegally detained at Peter Hodgkinson Centre in Lincoln UK. Being raped every night by patients and staff
Lou - 29-Aug-17 @ 5:39 PM
My partner has been detained under the mental health act section 4. The Doctor told us as I was there with him that he is going to hospital so they could attempt an MRI and get him diagnosed and treatment started. Instead the Doctor lied and told the police my partner locked him in a room and threatened him!!!! I was there!! This is completely untrue and now my partner is locked up and I can't see him! We were sitting outside having a cigarette with this Doctor when the police turned up!!! What can I do to help him!??
EmJ - 23-Aug-17 @ 8:30 PM
You posted my article in 2015. I was illegal committed by a police officer and my now X.After attempted murder in 2016 I opened up my case. Documented my X paid off the handy man I hired. When Cleoleft the house hidden damages and I was robbed. Just what I loved and not of value. The next day and for 5 days my dog and I became extremely I'll at night. My alarm company picked up carbon monoxide. Brought the firemen thank goodness. The gas line in the attic and water lines slightly open. Gas was coming down to the second floor. Opened up my case. His lawyers Secretary sent me papers and bills I hadn't seen.June 4 per my lawyers request. Dennis is coming back to the house and taking what is mine. Joint so legal by the police. My lawyer refused to go to the magistrate. Domestic criminal trespassing law he says he doesn't have to. Tell the cops he should be arrested.So I gave my complaint to a cop of what was stolen. The cop left and called my X. He came back said I was crazy and more. Angry As I bent my arm to my chest and said what. Fist closed and he yelled felony felony but since he new my now x he wouldn't. I just found after I left him when I was sitting on my friends front porch 2 officers drove by. There report says disturbance. Another one says I called them. I didn't have my cell with me. That day I had called my lawyer about the officer yelling felony at me and that was it. Told him to get his act together. 2 days later Dennis's lawyer calls mine. He said give her a guardian. Within 2 hours Dennis is in court. I was delusional and persicutory against him. The cops name is in my IVC. I was crazy found under a tree. No mention of the two fictious police reports. But the one where I was sitting on my friends front porch they just put down disturbance.That might I was taken away. I vanished from every one for 19 days. I called my Lawyer. I'm just your divorce lawyer. In the nurses notes Dennis calls the unit and says he is my son and throws in suicide. 4days later I got to call my lawyer. Oh he would take care of it. A letter to the police and many higher up government employees cutting down the chief how I was mistreated. He didn't tell the police where I was. Next he calls the RN. I'm her divorce lawyer and he didn't know why I was there. Then he was working on giving me a power of attorney. My lawyer every one thought he was for me. He even talked to the magistrate and lied or moved around of words. Oh how caring he was. Day 17 I finally got an advocate. She said she would get me out ASAP. I just found out there was a court date the next day. My lawyer that day called the staff and told them he had a guardian and power of attorney. I was fine and discharged. With days the sheriff comes to my house. Dennis is taking me to court for a guardian. Now found my lawyer was taking me to court. In case of insanity to give me a guardian. Told it was Dennis who filed.Just prior to court he can't go and sent another lawyer. Met
Mary - 10-Aug-17 @ 2:52 AM
someone i know has been sectioned, and is supposedly being forced into a hospital with several rape and abuse allegations against it.. Above it is stated that "They are also still entitled to have their needs met in the form of food, housing and protection from abuse and harassment." What means are used to ensure that the people are treated fairly and justly? A large majority of her mental issues are caused by the trauma of the fact that she has been sexually abused many times in the past. What is going to be done to ensure this doesnt happen and that she will indeed be safe? I've been reading about sectioning for the last day and the whole thing seems like a pile of wank, people seem to only get worse, not better. I've read very few positive stories and I've read a lot about people feeling as though their personal rights have been breached.
idontwantanickname - 26-Jul-17 @ 7:26 PM
Mad mom - Your Question:
Can a detective get information about my child from a mental hospital? Her words were go around the HIPAA POLICY. CAN SHE DO THAT??

Our Response:
We can only really comment on UK matters unfortunately, sorry.
AboutHumanRights - 25-Jul-17 @ 12:41 PM
Can a detective get information about my child from a mental hospital? Her words were go around the HIPAA POLICY. CAN SHE DO THAT??
Mad mom - 19-Jul-17 @ 5:21 AM
My Daughter has BDP and has been in hospital for 3 yrs under section 3 of the mental health act and was retrained by members of staff in hosptail and punch a memeber of staff and turned on the sprinkers and flooded the ward, can you be arrest for Assult and crimal damage? as the police have been to interview her on her own.....
ladyleo - 18-Jul-17 @ 4:55 PM
My partner and I raised our goddaughter from 6 months old. There has always been some mental illness challenges. At age 13 she was diagnosed with bipolar, her mania is of a sexual nature. While with us she was on her meds. Later that yr, she was reunited with her bio mom. Since then she has been totally neglected and has not had her meds since July of last yr. She is constantly running away. The police arrested her about a week ago for prostitution. She was held in a half way house with no lock down and she ran away again. In this short yr, she has gotten serveral std's while out in the streets. Everyone we talk to tell us theres nothing they can do because they can't force her to stay or take her meds. So in a manic state, there are no laws to assit in protecting tjis child from her own self inflicted harm? We live in Ohio and shes in New York with no advocacy or support. What can be done to save her from herself?
Ms.G - 13-Jul-17 @ 1:39 AM
I was admitted into Hospital due to my GP overdosing me with antibiotics causing liver injury and a rash with an itch that was pure mental torture! My ALT was at 600. While in hospital I couldn't take anything for itch orally because of liver, I asked the nurse for calamine lotion and I was told they didnt stock it so I couldnt get the relief I desperately needed! I was not given any relief itch was all over my body, honestly it was mental torture. I was explaining to the nurse that I needed relief as the itch was mental torture and that I would rather die than deal with itch! Figure of speech!I was sectioned and when I tried to leave to get me the calamine lotion the relief I desperately needed the hospital had their thugs drag me back like an animal arms twisted so far up my back it felt like it was going to break. I was sectioned and assaulted by hospital staff because I needed relief! The way patients are sectioned has to reviewed doctors should not be allowed to take peoples rights away just because of calamine lotion. I now fear going back to the only hospital in my city in fear this could happen to me again. I am still suffering from liver injury but am having major anxieties about returning to the hospital cant get the help I desperately need because liver specialist and all other specialists are seen at the hospital.
Vata - 11-Jul-17 @ 1:37 PM
Nephew locked up involuntarily at mental hospital. They won't let any family member talk to him or give any news about how long he will be there and won't take our phone numbers down. What can we do?
Goldie - 21-Jun-17 @ 12:16 AM
My brother was recently committed involuntarily and the hospital refuses to let anyone stalk to him, they say I have to have his patient ID number but won't tell what it is. They said he would have to call me but he doesn't know my number. What can I do or how do I obtain his IDd number?
Houdini - 1-Jun-17 @ 4:42 PM
My partner had a mental health break down an contacted the doctors in which they gave him a emergency appointment when he went he turned up an spoke to them they told him there was nothing they could do.. So he smashed up the doctors room an now the police are after him.. What grounds does he have and what could happen?
Girl123 - 22-May-17 @ 9:12 PM
young - Your Question:
I son is 15 and is in a long term mental health facility and was punched in the face by staff member it was caught on tape his lip is busted and the ceo of the company is call to apologize what kind of case is this and what do I do next I thought my child was safe. this was a mental and treatment set back for him I feel.

Our Response:
Speak to a professional legal adviser to find out more about taking court action.
AboutHumanRights - 3-May-17 @ 2:08 PM
I son is 15 and is in a long term mental health facility and was punched in the face by staff member it was caught on tape his lip is busted and the ceo of the company is call to apologize what kind of case is this and what do I do next I thought my child was safe. this was a mental and treatment set back for him i feel.
young - 3-May-17 @ 3:28 AM
Char, your community should have low cost or no cost legal aid. They might be able to find out if the hospital had security cameras in the hallways, and whether it can provide evidence.
A - 20-Apr-17 @ 10:01 PM
Commit the crime do the time , go home clean cut , don't become a victim to the legal drug pushing companies that pay taxes to let mental health units abuse your rights and take away any last part of dignity you have even when crying for help as they will never leave you alone as you become a great customer for there drugs and services that waste millions on over paid resources be strong and cope best as you can without signing away your future hell to strangers in sheepskin clothing you will be abused and abused only at times to be frustrated and angry having all your actions used against you to the extreme and exaggerated so you are risk danger to the public? Really when all you did was cry for help be careful as this mockery of rights have to changed and abusers of patients must be imprisioned themselves and then they will know how they will want to be treated and feel what is and has beefing going on must stop.
Natty - 16-Apr-17 @ 11:52 AM
Mental health act is totally in the dark ages , rights taken away no explains ions ever given you when you show your integrity , no kind of amendments made on notes or displinary on wrong treament made by care teams no sacking or even apologies when proof shown about the persons care totally illegal on the governments behalf when will this mental health act become open to question open to amendments for destroying innocent parties kept against there given write when they have shown no risk on there behalf to others too many false imprisioned by this money stealing scheme made to benefit proffessionals that would never have a job should there not be such an act ,total abuse of human rights . As for the recutied nurses they seem to be all from over sea and have no common knowledge to communicate well with the British generation today nurses are supposed to be of multi cultural society when you visit hospitals you tend to find a social club of majority the same people with ill manners towards British culture hence allows them to do as they please with citizens at there mercy back by board room criminals
Marv - 16-Apr-17 @ 11:39 AM
Should have the possibility to try and help any friend or family member when their life is in crisis and they cannot cope with their reality do so , whatever it take even when they have been arrested for a minor crime , do not let social services take them away a start there treament as it may work a first with medication to sedate them , only eventually most humans return to there senses only its to late social services will forcefully start to medicate people to the extent that person never has a right to conduct what's right for themselves they become vegtables and very obvious to others that there is a person on medication for mental reasons and are outcasts of there own lives very few need the treatment given to the extent taken by pen pushing consultants whom act as if the text books have higher intelligence than the person feeling the traumas or there family whom know the person , there life is treated as a money pit for uncesserlry medication and a system of over spent resources used to create stigma for mental Health they Guinea pigs , consultants take commission on drugs that they are told to use and promote there treated as rejects and not wanted in society and life expectancey shortens due to there own neglect as they can not lift up there own moral and duties to life as treatment controls there energy leaves and leaves them dependent on others , to cut it short now even the nurses think they have a right to do as they please with treament towards human life when given any powers who are these people abusing powers of when detaining patients whom never are heard when voicing the truth or become scared of there keepers , whom treat them like animals in the zoo.
Baz - 16-Apr-17 @ 10:02 AM
I have had the healthcare profession and others i trusted to give me the best care and they have neglected my needs and human rights and I have severe abdoominal pains and other issues swperate but all related.Currently i have been refused medical treatments for my physical and main issues and i am currently detained under a section 2.I was given a list of solicitors on their choice but the numbers accessible were limited and i have not got the means to vet many lawyers / solicitors prior as i am trying to cope with this harassment and illegal sectioning under false pretences.Also, there is an old lady with a zimmaframe whose case i would look into too as she reminds me of and old man i used to know and i think there is medical / clinical negligence on her too and i think a full medical history as well as scans and therapy as well as treatments if needed might help her as they would like me to end up the same way and are infringing my rights too.
Rosie - 8-Apr-17 @ 9:15 AM
Hi Benson. I'd like to say you are not alone. Pretty much the same thing has happened to me and still is i.e the gangstalking. I also know all who have been involved with me I.e all the authorities (police, hospital staff and doctors ect) are corrupt and all took part in my abuse from the day I got set up (the day after the independence ref in Scotland) to this moment. They are now drugging me up and have been since my first hospital admission when I got set up in 2014. There was a guy with an Orange Order suit on in the street when I had an alleged stand off that day. I thought this was a bluff and was too big to be the OO but the more time that has went on and things that has happened to me + reading things about other indepedence supporters being targeted, I do believe they were involved. If I'm wrong it's the masons or the government or all three
Gav - 17-Mar-17 @ 6:12 PM
My son was knocked by a car ,he sustain complecated heard injury, The court through the case because the evidence was not enough to arrest the driver but they did not collect the evidence. The driver is free.they dont care about my child
Ntoks - 2-Mar-17 @ 5:57 PM
My son ls ln a psychiatric hospital under section 3 of the mha.l would like an advocate to advise me as l think his human rights are being abused
Sharon - 16-Feb-17 @ 1:40 PM
My 22 y/o son was feeling down and wanted to speak to someone about possibly being depressed. My ex-wife took him to kaiser for 2 weeks, he eventually spoke to a physiatrist who sent him to aurora charter oak hospital all the way in Covina. He has been there three days and they won't let him leave because they say he is an imminent threat to himself. He checked in voluntarily, but they refuse to allow him to leave. My son was just feeling down now he is losing his mind being trapped in there. How can I get him released asap? is there an attorney that can help me? I have heard this same horror story by several families with loved in there. Has anyone had a similar experience with this same hospital?
SD - 9-Feb-17 @ 4:50 PM
my 17 year old had a stroke almost 3 years ago. He has been suffering from depression ever since. 2 weeks ago he started hearing voices in his head telling him to do dangerous things. The final straw was when he asked for 20 dollars to light himself on fire so he could stop all the bad things from happening saying he was responsible for all the bad stuff in the world. I took him to ER while there the doctor can in to assess him for not even five min. She said he was stable and gave no meds After that no one came into the room at all. We waited 4 hours. He grew impatient and tried to leave. He was going down the hall and the nurse on a different unit pinned my son up to the wall. My son pushed his way thru him. The next thing I knew big men police and nursing staff had him on the floor 6 to 8 men. The nurse that he pushed himself away from is saying that he hit him. Now they are pressing charges and my son felt like they were attacking him and so did I. He has since been admitted to the phyic ward for his safety. What can I do. How do I help my son if I do not have ab attorney and I want a better one that a deffence attorney. Also I feel like I can file against the hospital. Any advice out there. Am I on the right track. After all they attacked him first. And they also caused my son to had bruises and scabs all over his body. I am a very mad mother right now please help.
char - 3-Feb-17 @ 11:45 AM
I am in total despare, my son has just called me from shore ward in park royal. He was sectioned under the mental act and had just called me in utter fear from the staff he was threatened by this huge member of staff who told my son I know where you live and what is important to you. I could hearthem in the back ground saying how they bet he hasn't told his mum about what he said etc.I DON'T CARE WHAT HE SAID they have a duty of care and my son is mentally ill. I don't know what to do I have no way of contacting authorities until the morning and can't calm my son down I don't know what to do in desperate for advice
Liz t - 1-Feb-17 @ 8:11 PM
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