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: 19 Jul 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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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
I am trying to get Justice & change in the Law against corrupted Social Workers who work with corrupted Abusing Dr's, Nurses & Police. I was sectioned under section 2 in July 2014 by a Social Worker called Andy Seys working at Coventry Social Services, West Midlands. Where prior to my illegal, criminal, unlawful sectioning, I reported some abusers Gang Stalking Me, doing NHS ill, miss & abusive practices from the flat above, making up a illegal Surveillance Profile, which was used to Aid to section Me, along with 2 fraudulent, Doctored NHS Mental Health Records slipped into my NHS Confidential records, to state I have been Mental Illness, been sectioned before, up to 5 times in the past? I have no Mental Health History, no records & have never stayed over night in any Hospital, never even broke a bone before. After years of Abuse, I researched all that was being done to Me, by the Abusers from Coventry NHs & Social Services, obvious all ill, miss & abusive practices linked from OLD Government Mental Health Entrapment & Inducement Programs linked to MK Ultra/Cointropol modifications, where abusing DR's & Nurses, working with Council linked abusing Police, Fireman & Armed Forces Gang stalkers, abuse local Targets, while photographing, videoing & sound Recording local Targets, that are Targeted, so they can try to register Targets into Mental Health research & study, for local Funding & too get their New recruits in the linked Coventry Council NHS Mental Health & Social Services Sectors Qualified, progressed & Trained, so they can progress in their Council linked Careers. I am a Man of 45 years old & Work Full Time, the corrupted Idiots on My Case are doing the opposite of the Government, instead of Helping People into Work, these corrupt Idiots are trying to take Local targets out of work? How can I stop the corrupted Gang Stalkers hand in an illegal Surveillance Profile, get an Injunction out against them, who are linked & working with corrupted Social Worker Andy Seys, his Social Services Department, the Swanswell Centre, Mental Health Dr's, the corrupted Police/Private Detectives, Armed Forces, Fireman & Co-workers they are conspiring with, to aid their illegal & criminally gotten & made Surveillance Profile.
Benson - 30-Jan-17 @ 9:23 AM
My lesbian partner is very abusive to me. Physically, mentally, sexually, every way possible. She wants to take my home and my cars. She keeps calling my psychiatrist and a local hospital.I can't take it anymore. She abuses me and then when I'm depressed and crying she wants to commit me??REALLY???SHE IS SICK. All because I'm done with her, want her to stay away from me. She keeps telling me she will do whatever it takes to hurt me. WTF???
BatteredNAbused69 - 21-Jan-17 @ 6:44 AM
My sons in BCF. I believe he has had abreakdown. The guards do not I meen do not protect them. They get abused beat and drugs come in from the guards. i contacted the Warden mayer governer lawyer no results. If somethings is not did are love one will forever mentally damaged. Because there is no rehabilitation in that prison in most in Alabama.
Tilowa - 27-Nov-16 @ 3:28 PM
Bevey - Your Question:
Hello my nephew is in prison for assaultHe has lots of issues with anger and was diagnose with depression we are trying to get him out of prison. He is serving two years. And is not getting the help he needs there. how can we get him out of prison. Into a program

Our Response:
There's not much you can do as a lay person/relative. Have you tried the Prisoner's Families and Friends Service?
AboutHumanRights - 22-Nov-16 @ 2:04 PM
Hello my nephew is in prison for assault He has lots of issues with anger and was diagnose with depression we are trying to get him out of prison. He is serving two years. And is not getting the help he needs there .. how can we get him out of prison. Into a program
Bevey - 22-Nov-16 @ 7:35 AM
My son is 21who asasperg he his in prison on remand since May he as seen 2psychologistand both have said he needs to be in hospital Because of his metal health and for judge to find out was it that that made Tom do what he did because it was out ofcharacter for him to of done what he did because of his asperg he has beentormented in prison it's killing me he as now been given ahospital order and he will be going there in the next 28 days to beassessed for 12 weeks then court again for the out come and to be sentenced I'm praying he won't go back to prison it's not fare some one should do something to stop asperg people going to prison it's un human for them to put them threw torture tormented plus no one to look after them the system is all wrong
Sue - 16-Nov-16 @ 9:17 AM
My son was diagnosed with aspergers and OCD at the age of 30 after he had committed a federal crime. I always thought he was shy but was not aware of a underlying cause. I hired an attorney for $30,000.00 and told my son to trust him. In the end the attorney was sadly lacking in showing the judge my son's disability and my son was subsequently sentenced to 5 years in Federal Prison. His wife who is also mentally disabled and their son live with me. My grandson has been diagnosed with Severe Autism, is non verbal, and severely developmentally delayed. He is four and a half, operating at a 2 year old level. He doesn't understand why his father can't be here and has a lot of extreme behaviors as a result. I'm getting my grandson the help he needs. But my Son is still suffering with the outcome of being locked up. I'm writing this in hope that someone might see this post and be able to help me get my son back home. Thank you for providing a place for me to share.
Bambi - 13-Nov-16 @ 9:03 PM
In the past a hate crime was started on me,by corrupt officials,they have used mental health as away of controling me,and my granson and others have seen what is actualy been contrived against me,they actualy use their authority to set up the situation so as to look and sound bizzar, and its very serrious, the evidence iv had and some iv managed to protect from them,and they have left evidence in this house,which as a logical. Person,and knowing that what they are doing to us by damaging everything in this house with damage to all furnishings,ie.brand new or even things that stayed undamaged many years,just coincedently damage themselves do they? N. O. Inside and outside the house white splashes of fluid dont just do it to themselves do they? Like my windows inside and out all my downstairs walls,andd ceilings dont splatter themselves, with dirty marks,water is not supposed to descale kettles, and the more we drink of it,the more dehydrated we get,and lots of bad stomach pains,and give one the runs either do they? And much much more,chemical destuction of gardens just coincedently, when the authorities started this very dangerous hate crime,photographic evidence,even though they got to alot of it as on wi fi they even stole evidence,untill i phound away to secure some. Any way we including our dog are constantly shareing the same simptoms, there oh so much more..... any.way im serriously cocerned for my life,over and over they just kept coming and sectioning me for nothing but reporting whats happening for all to come see,and some have seen,but ignore even though accurate as the set up and power they have over your life is horrific,literaly you lose all human rights and great evil abuse,i know im not the only one with similar storys,all i desperately want is an ucorupt team of people to help me,and my 24 year old granson.inow fear their conclusion is to and i know this sounds similarbut who better to use as a favour from one type of college to another to get away with the worst corrupt crimes but those that devised this hate crime against us,but them and as iv said everything that can and has been seen and done to us i have to tell them,when forced to with threats,and lies they get away with,abuseing the mental health act against you it seems that you cant escape them,im dessparate now as im 63 years old and quite some time ago they intemated that this age was not too young to die,now i fear their finel abuse and finnish is aproaching,suddenly i get a letter from them asking me to attend an appointment. Here in colchester,for a mental and phisical check up,i fear they will yet again section me and use their forced drugs,to induce heart attack or stroke, or similar ,i know i wont get out alive,hate crime completed. Im perfectly logic,as its so blatently obvious that these and many more things that have only happend sonce hate crime started and blatently cant just happen,they are doing it and we are reacting to it,which makes me loo
none - 3-Nov-16 @ 10:09 AM
My brother is suffering from bipolar disorder,he has been given treatment since past 7-8 years.But he has not shown much improvement,he creates violence in the house,he beats my parents and torture them,what to do now.? ??Can we admit him somewhere permanently. ???
Devansh - 30-Oct-16 @ 4:24 PM
Service users and there families should be informed of any changes to the care plans. It is KEY that the family work with mental health professionals. It is the families right, if it's in the patients best interest. I suggest anybody who is concerned for the service user family and friends ... 1. Put it in writing /print a copy for your records. 2. Covertly record telephone calls , If needs be record on premises.You the concerned persons is building up a case. Note you have concerns of a professionals abusing there power. RECORD, LOG . 3. After gathering evidence you seek the person in charge. That's the person above your professional dealing with the service user. Report a professional causing anxiety to the family, simply will not listen, will or is not involving families of care plans and treatment changes that may result in relapse or further pro- longed avoidable issues. 4. Remind the hospital or whom is dealing with the service user about Emphaty. Vital if you don't posses the basic human emotion they should not be working with vunrable individuals. 5.approaching an INDEPENDENT to assess needs, concerns. 6. Hospital assessors bring it to there attention., likely inspection will take place on performance, talking to the patients and seeing what things are really like. 7. Work with the profesionals who clearly have the service users best interest at heart, who clearly does like there job and is not corrupt. You will find many who indeed are willing to help. Good luck!
Chels - 10-Oct-16 @ 9:41 AM
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