Mental Health Act 1983
This section is about detention under the Mental Health Act 1983. This is sometimes called ‘sectioning’. We explain why you may be detained, and what rights you have. If you care for someone who has been detained, you might also find this information useful.
- The Mental Health Act says when you can be detained in hospital and treated against your wishes.
- You can be detained if professionals think your mental health puts you or others at risk, and you need to be in hospital.
- If you are detained, NHS staff may be able to give you treatment, even if you don’t want it.
- There are different sections of the Mental Health Act. These are used for different reasons.
- When you are detained, you have the right to appeal, and the right to get help from an independent advocate.
This section covers:
- What is the Mental Health Act?
- What is a mental disorder?
- How can I be detained?
- What support can I get?
- Can I avoid being detained?
- Section 2 - detention for assessment
- Section 3 - detention for treatment
- Section 4 - detention in an emergency
- Section 5 - holding powers
- What happens next?
These pages are created by the Rethink Mental Illness Advice Service in accordance with the Information Standard. Last reviewed in February 2018. Next review February 2021.
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Contact our Advice team about mental health & related issues
0300 5000 927 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm, not including bank holidays