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Mental Health Act 1983

In most cases, when people are treated in hospital or a mental health facility, they have agreed or volunteered to be there.

What does 'being sectioned' mean?

However, there are cases when a person can be detained (also known as sectioned) under the Mental Health Act (1983) and treated without their agreement. These people usually need urgent treatment for a mental health disorder and are at risk of harm to themselves or others.

The Mental Health Act

The Mental Health Act (1983) is the main piece of legislation that covers the assessment, treatment and rights of people with a mental health disorder.

The Mental Health Act Code of Practice tells everyone how to use this law and what they must do.

It's important that you know what happens to you when you're detained, what your rights are, and where you can seek help.

For more information about being sectioned under the Mental Health Act, visit:

Someone to speak on your behalf

People who are admitted to hospital under the Mental Health Act are entitled to help from an Independent Mental Health Advocate (IMHA). The advocate is a person who is independent of the hospital and is employed to speak on your behalf. They can help you discuss your feelings about your care and what support you may need in the future.

You should automatically be offered the support of an IMHA by hospital staff.

For advocacy services in Essex, please contact Rethink on:

Phone: 0300 790 0559

Mental health aftercare

If you have been formally admitted to hospital your care team will arrange a discharge planning meeting with you whilst still an inpatient to explore the support you need after you leave hospital.

For more information on mental health aftercare, visit:

Further information:

Mental Health Act 1983 - The Act in full on GOV.UK

Mental Health Act: Code of Practice - The Code in full on GOV.UK

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