Your Rights When Detained Under the Mental Health Act – Downloadable Guides
Rethink Mental Illness has been working in partnership with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to produce guides that explain your rights when you are detained under the Mental Health Act. Alongside the rights you have under the Mental Health Act, these guides also explain how you are protected by the Human Rights Act and the Equality Act.
In order to make these guides, we spoke to lots of people who have been detained under the Mental Health Act, as well as their families, carers and mental health professionals.
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What is the Human Rights Act?
The Human Rights Act is a law that says all people have basic rights. Your human rights mean that you should be treated fairly and with respect and dignity. And that you can make decisions about your life and be listened to.
But some human rights that you have are particularly important if you are under the Mental Health Act. These articles are:
- Article 2 – The right to life
- Article 3 – The right to be free from inhuman or degrading treatment
- Article 5 – The right to liberty
- Article 8 – The right to respect for private and family life, home and correspondence.
- Article 14 – Right not to be discriminated against when relying on your other rights in the Human Rights Act.
How these rights apply to you when you are under the Mental health Act is explained in detail in the guides.
What is the Equality Act?
The Equality Act is a law that protects you from discrimination and makes sure you are treated fairly. It protects you from unfair treatment because of your:
- sexual orientation,
- pregnancy and maternity,
- gender reassignment,
- religion or belief or,
- marriage or civil partnership.
These are known as “protected characteristics”. If you are treated unfairly because of a protected characteristic, this is know as discrimination. There is lots of information in the guides about how you should be protected form discrimination while you are detained.
Who are the guides for?
The guides are for anyone who is detained under the Mental Health Act, or who is worried they might be in the future. Friends, families and carers of detained patients may also find them useful.
They also provide some useful information for voluntary patients. A voluntary patient is someone who is in hospital but isn’t detained under the Mental Health Act.
Download the guides
There are separate guides depending on whether you are detained under the civil sections or the forensic sections of the Mental Health Act.
Civil sections are used when you live in the community. Medical and mental health professions decide you would benefit from time in hospital to assess or treat a ental health problem. The civil sections guides are for people who are detained under sections 2 and 3 of the Mental Health Act. The guides are also for voluntary patients. A voluntary patient is someone who is in hospital but isn’t detained under the Mental Health Act.
Forensic sections of the Mental Health Act are used when a court or prison decide you would benefit from time in hospital to assess or treat a mental health problem. The forensic sections guide is for people detained under sections 35, 36, 37, 37/41, 38, 45A, 47, 47/49, 48 or 48/49 of the Mental Health Act.
There is also a shorter introductory version of each of the guides.
You can read the whole guide if you want, or just the sections that interest you. The guides are also interactive, and there are parts of the guide that you can complete for yourself. At the end, there is a word list that explains the terms that we use throughout the guide.