What are the differences between sections?
Before someone can be sectioned, they have to be assessed by either an approved mental health professional (formerly referred to as ASW), section 12 approved doctors (doctors who have specialist knowledge of mental illnesses and have been trained in the mental health act), other doctors, registered mental health nurses (RMNs) and the police, depending on the type of section.
Section 2 is for assessment of your mental illness and lasts for up to 28 days, but it cannot be renewed when it expires (but can be transferred to a section 3 if needed). It can be enforced after an assessment with an approved mental health professional and two doctors (one of whom being a section 12 doctor unless in an emergency). The assessment can be carried out anywhere, but most commonly happens in a hospital, police station or the patient's home.
You will be placed under the section 2 if you are refusing to go to hospital, and it is agreed that you need to be detained in the interest of your own health, safety or the protection of others. The section effectively takes place once the person is transported to hospital, and patients can be given medication against their will as this falls under the category of assessment (the assessment is the response to treatment).
Family members can also request that a person be assessed for detention under a section 2.
You can appeal your section any time within the first 14 days of detention and have a mental health review tribunal (MHRT), or you can appeal to the managers of the hospital at any time. Either of these can lift your section, as can your psychiatrist at any time. A period of leave from the hospital can be granted by the psychiatrist.
Section 3 is for treatment of your mental illness and lasts up to 6 months before it can be renewed. You can be placed directly on a section 3 without having been on a section 2, in the same ways outlined above. This section can be renewed for another 6 months, and subsequent renewals after that last for 1 year.
If your nearest relative (which does not have to be your next of kin) objects to your detention under a section 3, you will be detained under section 2 and your nearest relative taken to court to be removed, and social services take over the role of nearest relative.
During the first three months of the section 3 you can be treated and medicated against your will, even with injections and antipsychotics and in some cases even electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)- (in emergencies or if the treatment is authorised by the mental health act comissioners panel). After three months, you must consent to treatment. If you do not, an independent doctor must confirm that the patient can still be treated against their will if it remains in their best interests.
You can only apply for a mental health review tribunal (MHRT) once during the period of the detention until it is renewed, but you can appeal to the hospital managers at any time. As above, your psychiatrist can also lift the section at any time. A period of leave from the hospital can be granted by the psychiatrist.
Section 4 is used in emergencies where a second doctor cannot be found to detain a person under section 2. It lasts for up to 72 hours and is implemented by one doctor and an approved mental health worker. Once the patient is in hospital, a psychiatrist or another doctor will make a recommendation and the section 4 be converted to a section 2.
Section 5 (2) is the holding power a doctor has. They can use it to prevent a voluntary (informal) patientS leaving the hospital, in a psychiatric ward or a general medical ward. It lasts for 72 hours and can either be recinded or recommendations can be made to implement a section 2 or 3. Treatment can be given under common law.
Section 5 (4) is the holding power a nurse has to prevent a voluntary (informal) patient from leaving. This lasts for six hours and is often converted to a section 5 (2) upon assessment by a doctor.
Section 135 is a magistrates order. If a person thought to be mentally ill by a an approved mental health worker is denying them entry to their house, this will allow entry into the house in order to carry out an assessment. The section allows police the right to enter into a house and take the person to a place of safety, usually a psychiatric hospital or the police station where they can be assessed.
Section 136 is a simlar order to a section 135 and lasts for up to 72 hours. It allows the police to take a person they believe to be mentally disordered to a place of safety, usually a psychiatric hospital or the police station where they can be assessed. Treatment can be given under common law.
Last edited by Sometimes Crazy : 05-06-2009 at 12:00 AM.