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Equilibrium - Self Harmony

You and the Law

If you are considered a danger to yourself, or to other people, you can be detained against your will on a Section according to the Mental Health Act 1989. 

This does not mean that you will always be detained against your will. In the UK, you are unlikely to be detained if you are considered to be thinking and acting in a calm and rational manner. 

Different Sections are for different lengths of time and have different requirements. We will briefly describe the most common, and recommend that you look up the Mental Health Act should you require further information. MIND have some very useful legal documents listed on their website, http://www.mind.org.uk/Information/Legal/index.htm

Section 4 

  • Application by Approved Social Worker or nearest relative (applicant must have seen the patient in the last 24hrs)

  • One doctor must confirm that there is urgent necessity for the patient to be detained under Section 2 (see below) and that waiting for a second doctor would delay too long.

  • Detained for 72 hours maximum

Section 2

  • Application by Approved Social Worker or nearest relative (applicant must have seen the patient within the last 14 days)

  • Two doctors must confirm that the patient is suffering from a mental disorder that warrants detention in hospital for assessment and that the patient should be detained in the interests of their own safety or the safety of others. 

  • Detained for 28 days maximum. 

Section 136

  • Police officers can detain a person in a safe place (usually a hospital) if the person is found in a public place and is deemed by the police officer to be suffering from mental disorder and is in immediate need of care and control.

  • Detained for 72 hours maximum. 

Section 135

  • Police officers can be given a warrant to enter premises and remove a person to a safe place (usually a hospital) if there is reasonable cause to suspect that the person is suffering mental disorder and is either being mistreated, or cannot care for themselves properly.

  • Detained for 72 hours maximum. 

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