22 Mental Health
2. What is the Mental Health Act for?
3. Who decides if I should be detained in hospital?
4. When can I be detained in hospital?
5. When can I be given compulsory treatment?
6. What treatment can I be given?
7. Who can discharge me from hospital?
8. What are my rights in hospital?
9. What if I am unhappy with my care and treatment?
10. Will I get help when I leave hospital?
11. What powers do the police have against people with mental health problems?
12. Mental health and The Human Rights Act
13. Terms used in mental health law
A person who is independent of the police and whose role is to protect the rights of a person with mental health problems in police custody.
Approved social worker (ASW)
A social worker with specialist training and experience in dealing with people with mental disorders.
People who make sure the hospital meets the requirements of the Mental Health Act. This includes reviewing your detention if you ask, and also if the responsible medical officer wants to renew your detention.
Mental Health Act Commission (MHAC)
The organisation that reviews the way the Mental Health Act is applied to people detained in hospital.
A type of mental disorder that covers such conditions as schizophrenia and depression.
A type of mental disorder that is defined in the Mental Health Act as ‘a state of arrested or incomplete development of mind (not amounting to severe mental impairment) which includes significant impairment of intelligence and social functioning and is associated with abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct on the part of the person concerned’.
A person, usually a relative, who has various rights and powers, including the right to apply for you to be discharged from being detained in hospital. See ‘What powers does my family have?’ for more.
A type of mental disorder that is defined in the Mental Health Act as ‘a persistent disorder or disability of mind (whether or not including significant impairment of intelligence) which results in abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct on the part of the person concerned’.
Responsible medical officer (RMO)
The doctor (usually a consultant psychiatrist) in charge of treating you under the Mental Health Act.
Second opinion appointed doctor (SOAD)
A doctor appointed by the Mental Health Act Commission to look at whether certain types of treatment in the Mental Health Act should be given to you without your permission.
Severe mental impairment
A type of mental disorder that is defined in the Act as ‘a state of arrested or incomplete development of mind which includes severe impairment of intelligence and social functioning and is associated with abnormally aggressive or seriously irresponsible conduct on the part of the person concerned’.
14. Further help
15. About this leaflet
This leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Camilla Parker, and independent consultant specialising in mental health law and policy.
The leaflets are regularly updated but the law may have changed since they were printed so the information in them may be incorrect or out of date.
Leaflet Version: November 2019