Mental Health Act 1983 - Support
What support can I get?
Being taken to hospital against your will can be stressful and upsetting. You may feel that you need a lot of support.
Friends, family, and carers
Your friends and family can visit you in hospital if you want. There may be set visiting times.
There may be situations when doctors can stop someone visiting you. But they would need to show that this is necessary for safety or security reasons. And they should explain these reasons to you. If a doctor stops someone visiting you, when it’s not necessary, it could be a breach of your rights.
While you’re in hospital, you should be able to keep in touch with your family by telephone, email, or social media.
Emotional support lines
You may want to talk to someone about the way you feel. Ask the ward staff if you can use a phone to call a listening service, like Samaritans. Their number is in here.
Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA)
You can get help from an IMHA if you are under sections 2 or 3 of the Mental Health Act.
IMHAs help you to tell staff about your concerns, and find out what your rights are. They can also help you to understand your treatment. They are independent of the hospital staff.
Staff should tell you about help from an IMHA as soon as possible after you are detained.
If you think you would find it helpful to speak to an IMHA, ask staff about how to get in touch with one. You may have to ring a number to make an appointment. IMHAs can meet with you in private, if you would like them to.
You can’t get help from an IMHA if you are:
- under an emergency section (Section 4),
- under holding powers of the Mental Health Act (Section 5), or
- in a place of safety under police powers (section 135 or 136).
If you are under sections 2 or 3, and you think you should not have been detained, you can appeal to a tribunal. A solicitor can help you do this. This help should be free under legal aid.
Civil Legal Advice can tell you more about legal aid, and help you to find a solicitor. Their number is in here.
There may also be a list of solicitors on the ward.
You can click on the following to find more information about them:
Need practical advice & info? We can help.
Contact our Advice team about mental health & related issues
0300 5000 927 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm, not including bank holidays