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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Leaving hospital

Philippa felt abandoned when she was discharged from hospital without warning. Now she's helping our campaign.

Posted on 01/03/2017

How to help someone who's been sectioned

Harriet from our information team shares ways to help someone who's been detained under the Mental Health Act.

Mind Info team
Posted on 07/03/2017


If you have been sectioned in hospital under the Mental Health Act, you have certain rights to get your section lifted, and get care and support after you leave. These rights are set out in the Mental Health Act.

Quick facts

  • Sometimes your discharge may be delayed. In some circumstances this may be unlawful, and you should see a mental health solicitor to help you.

Care planning

  • The planning of the care you will receive when you leave hospital should start while you are in hospital, in good time before your discharge.
  • Before you leave hospital, a meeting will be organised so you can discuss what kind of care you need. This might include things like practical help around the home, help with finding accommodation, or facilities for day time activities.
  • The type of care you receive and the way that it is planned will depend upon a number of factors, including which section you have been detained on, what your needs are and whether you are in England or Wales.
  • If you are discharged from certain sections, you have the right to free aftercare under section 117 of the Mental Health Act. This can cover all kinds of things like healthcare, social care and supported accommodation.
If you are a voluntary or informal patient, the discharge process is different than for someone who is under a section or on a CTO. See our information on voluntary patients to find out more.

Please note

  • This guide covers leaving hospital from the point of view of a person with a mental health problem.
  • This guide applies to England and Wales.
  • This guide contains general legal information, not legal advice. We recommend you get advice from a specialist legal adviser or solicitor who will help you with your individual situation and needs. See Useful contacts for more information.
  • The legal information in this guide does not apply to children unless specifically stated.


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

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