Mental Health Act

The Mental Health Act helps ensure people with mental health problems get the right treatment and care they need for their own health and safety or for the protection of others.

Mental health acr 1983

What is The Mental Health Act?

The Mental Health Act (1983) is the law which ensures people with mental health needs receive appropriate treatment. you have to be formally detained and treated in hospital to receive necessary care and support, the Act protects your rights.

If your doctor thinks it is in your best interests to stay in hospital, you may be assessed for sectioning under the Mental Health Act. You will be told that a Mental Health Act assessment is taking place and introduced to the  professionals involved in conducting it.

We will explain what a Mental Health Act assessment is and what the outcomes may be. If you are sectioned or detained, a member of staff will give you written information about the section of the Act that applies to you, and will help you to understand the information.  Usually two doctors ( and a social worker must agree that you need to stay in hospital for assessment and/or treatment.  People detained under the Mental Health Act are sometimes called “formal patients”.

Can I appeal against being detained?

Yes, you can appeal under the Mental Health Act Please watch the short films to find out more.  Your named nurse or social worker can give you more information about how to appeal and can also help you get independent support from an advocate or solicitor. You are entitled to legal aid if represented by a solicitor. If you are discharged from a ‘section’ you don’t have to leave hospital.  You can remain as an informal patient if you wish.


Subject to your wishes, there are some occasions when we will need to inform and talk to your nearest relative or carer about your care. We may also need  to provide them with confidential information about you, but we will only do this with your consent.

Section 17 leave

If you are detained under the Mental Health Act you may be given leave (to go home or to another place). Your consultant has to give written consent, however. Please discuss this with a member of staff so that they can put your request forward to your consultant.