What happens before detention?

You may be assessed by 3 professionals who have to agree that you need to be detained. 

The professionals in the assessment will be:

  • An approved mental health professional
  • 2 doctors, one of whom should have special training in mental disorders (section 12 approved)

You may be detained on section 3 because the assessing professionals believe:

  • You are suffering from a mental disorder which makes it appropriate for you to be in hospital for treatment
  • Your detention is necessary for your health and safety or for the protection of others
  • Appropriate treatment is available to you in hospital
  • You could not get this treatment without being detained

How long can I be held?

You can be detained for up to 6 months initially.

Towards the end of the 6 months your doctor will consider whether you still meet the criteria for detention under section 3. They can renew your section for a further 6 month period and then on a yearly basis thereafter.  

Who can discharge me?

You can be discharged by:

  • Your Responsible Clinician
  • The Mental Health Tribunal
  • The Hospital Managers
  • Your Nearest Relative

Your Responsible Clinician can discharge you from section at anytime.

You can appeal to the Mental Health Tribunal at any time during your detention. You may only have one Tribunal in each period of detention. This means you have one appeal in the first 6 months of detention, one in the second 6 months and one every year should you remain detained in hospital.

The Tribunal is independent of the hospital and made up of a panel of 3 people:

  • A lawyer (Judge)
  • A psychiatrist
  • Specialist member

After reviewing the evidence, they can discharge you either immediately or defer to a future date, make a statutory recommendation for leave, transfer to another hospital or into guardianship or that a doctor considers whether to subject an individual to a Community Treatment Order. They may also adjourn for further information. The Tribunal may decide not to discharge the section.

You can also appeal your section to the Hospital Managers. You can apply at any time during your detention. They have the power to discharge you from section, adjourn your case for further information or make informal recommendations.

Your nearest relative may order your discharge from section. This discharge can be stopped by the doctor in your case if they think you might act in a way that is dangerous to yourself or other people. They have 72 hours from when the order is received to make their decision.

If the doctor does bar their application for discharge, a Hospital Managers hearing will take place to consider the case. Your Nearest Relative will also have their own right to appeal to the Tribunal. They may only request your discharge once during a 6 month period.

Can I leave the hospital?

Your doctor can authorise you to leave the hospital for periods of time under section 17 Mental Health Act.

Will I need to take medication?

Your consent should be sought by the professionals on the ward. If you do not consent or you are deemed to lack capacity to consent to treatment, you can be treated against your wishes for the first 3 months of your detention. A Second Opinion Approved Doctor (SOAD) will then be sought to authorise further treatment.

How we can help you…

If you have been detained on section 3 Mental Health Act 1983 and require advice, please call our mental health team who will be happy to assist you.

Start your confidential enquiry with us

Call: 020 3440 8000|View our Whitechapel Office|View our Clapham Junction Office