Leaving hospital

Explains the rights you have to get your section lifted if you are being detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act, and your rights to care and support after leaving hospital. Applies to England and Wales.

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Getting information

Where can I get information about leaving hospital?

If you have been sectioned, or are under a community treatment order (CTO), the Mental Health Act says that you have the right to be given information on the ways in which your section or CTO can end and you can leave hospital. This may also be called being ‘discharged’ from your section. Your rights will be different if you are in hospital as a voluntary or informal patient.

When you arrive in hospital:

  • your rights should be explained to you by a member of staff
  • you should receive written information explaining your rights and other important information on how the Mental Health Act affects you
  • your nearest relative and carer, if you have one, should also receive this information

The hospital managers have a duty under the Mental Health Act to make sure that this happens, and that you understand that help is available from an independent mental health advocate (IMHA). This information should be readily available to you throughout your stay in hospital.

You may be given this information by your:

What can I do if I'm not given this information?

You can ask a member of staff on your ward to arrange for you to have it, or ask to see an IMHA. You have the right to see an IMHA if you are sectioned under certain sections of the Mental Health Act. They or another member of staff should be able to answer any questions you have about your section or getting it lifted, or about leaving hospital.


This information was published in August 2018. We will revise it in 2020.

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