Useful real experiences about mental health act sections

What rights do you have under the mental health act, if any?

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Useful real experiences about mental health act sections

Postby embleton » Fri Oct 24, 2014 7:27 pm

Section 2 is for 28 days and on your first admission it’s unlikely to last longer than that period. Even though the section is only for observation (section 5, 72 hours only) and assessment, which is the actual section 2, they’re likely to encourage you to take medication and force feed it to you when not compliant, even though it’s against the mental health act doctors and advocates advise that compliancy with treatment is necessarily and part of the act, which it isn’t in my opinion unless they diagnose you immediately with a mental disorder, ask for this information to clarify the situation about your diagnoses as its useful information for later purposes, see below for why. Section 3 is a treatment order, so treatment must be taken, you don’t have a choice whatsoever. Section 3 can last as long as 6 months, but see below about appealing to a tribunal, which you can do once during the first six months, then its once a year as the section can be renewed for that period when you continue to be unwell.

You can appeal against a section 2 within 14 days of detainment and if you’re well enough I’d advise doing so because it’ll shorten the stay, placing considerable pressure on those holding you under the mental health act section, hopefully you’ll be released from the section before the tribunal takes place, which is usually the outcome. I’d advise appealing a section 3 also for the same reason, but ensure you’re well enough to make that decision because it can only be done once during that six month period, but remember it takes up to a month for the tribunal to take place under a section 3 anyway, so get it in quick if you recover quickly in such situations.

Advice and legal representation is completely free and wards provide notice boards with solicitors contact details that will help before and at a tribunal, this will put pressure on the hospital management staff, doctors and nurses and they’ll need to provide useful details and reports on your behaviour during the stay that are allowing them to keep you under the section. These reports if you remain or not on the mental health section are useful as evidence for claiming future benefits from the DWP, for such things as Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIP’s), so whatever you do keep a copy as obtaining a duplicate is usually impossible as they destroy the reports and remove them from your medical records, I know when requesting my medical records copies of these reports were not present. Your solicitor should provide copies of such documents so they can ask you about factuality, presentation and advise accordingly.

If you ever get sectioned under a section 3 ensure you get a section 117 hearing; this is for free aftercare when you return to the community. With funds allocated for your aftercare you can hire a personal assistant, or use the funds allocated to you for other things that keep you well; anything can be requested within reason that will keep you well in the community, so you could ask for such things as music lessons, equipment for keeping you socially connected or whatever. The section 117 hearing should take place before leaving the psychiatric hospital not after you've left, and ensure every requirement is met in your care plan, remember if it's not recorded then it'll be unavailable at a later stage. Lots of individuals don't know about the mental health section 117 for aftercare and miss out on essential allocated resources that are available from the NHS and local council.
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