Explains the rights that you have if you are sectioned and detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983.
When they arrive, the AMHP should explain who they are and why you are being assessed. They should also carry some identification so you know who they are.
The AMHP will then interview you so that they can decide if keeping you in hospital is the best way of providing the care and treatment you need. The two doctors must also agree with this.
The doctors may ask to examine you physically, as well as assessing your mental health. This may happen on the same day as the AMHP assessment, or on a different day, but it should happen within a few days. The two doctors may also have to examine you at different times.
The AMHP will decide whether to go ahead with the application to section you, and give you reasons for the decision. They should also tell this to:
For most sections this must take place within 14 days, but if you are put on a section 4, you must be admitted within 24 hours.
There will not always be a gap between assessment and admission. If a suitable bed is available, you may be admitted very soon after assessment. What happens in the interval depends on where you are and your circumstances when you are assessed. The AMHP should explain what will happen.
The doctors who assess you will generally be responsible for finding you a place in a suitable hospital.
During your assessment, you will be asked questions about:
The health professionals will also want to find out if:
Emma decides not to tell the AMHP about her self-harming and that she has a mental health history and was treated for it in the past. She is afraid she is more likely to be sectioned if she does. The AMHP has to accept that Emma will not tell her, although he may try to find out some other way.
Emma can still be sectioned, even though she does not give the AMHP all the information he asks for.
Being 'sectioned' means that you are kept in hospital under the Mental Health Act. There are different types of sections, each with different rules to keep you in hospital. The length of time that you can be kept in hospital depends on which section you are detained under.
See our pages on sectioning for more information.See our full list of legal terms.
AMHPs are mental health professionals who have been approved by a local social services authority to carry out duties under the Mental Health Act. They are responsible for coordinating your assessment and admission to hospital if you are sectioned.
They may be:
This is a law that applies to England and Wales which allows people to be detained in hospital (sectioned) if they have a mental health disorder and need treatment. You can only be kept in hospital if certain conditions are met.
See our pages on the Mental Health Act for more information.See our full list of legal terms.
This tells health professionals how they should follow the Mental Health Act. It is not law, so it cannot be enforced by going to court, but health professionals should follow it unless there is a good reason not to.
The Code covers some areas not specifically mentioned in the Mental Health Act, such as visiting rights and the use of seclusion.
If a health professional doesn’t follow the Code, you can make a complaint.See our full list of legal terms.
Hospital managers are an independent team of people in a hospital who make sure that the requirements of the Mental Health Act are properly applied. They have certain important responsibilities and can make decisions related to your detention.
In practice, most of the day-to-day decisions are taken by individuals authorised by the hospital managers to do so. This can include hospital staff. Decisions about discharge are normally delegated to a team of people who are independent of the hospital. You can apply to them to be discharged from your section and they will decide whether or not to discharge you.See our full list of legal terms.
The nearest relative is a family member who has certain responsibilities and powers if you are detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act. These include the right to information and to discharge in some situations.
The law sets out a list to decide who will be your nearest relative. This can sometimes be changed.
See our pages on the nearest relative for more information.See our full list of legal terms.
A qualified doctor, for example a GP or psychiatrist.See our full list of legal terms.
This is a locally agreed place where the police may take you to be assessed. It's usually a hospital but can be your home. A police station should only be used in an emergency.See our full list of legal terms.
This information was published in July 2020. We will revise it in 2023.
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