The areas below are the most commonly sections of the Mental Health Act that you or a loved one may come into contact with.

Section 136

  • This is an arrest by a police officer from a public place;
  • Compulsory detention to a place of safety for up to 24 hours for a Mental Health Act assessment by medical practitioner and an AMHP;
  • The detention starts when the person arrives at the place of safety (hospital or – rarely - police cells);
  • The service user can be moved under this section between places of safety.

Section 135

  • Allows the Police to gain entry into an individual’s home when an assessment under the Act is being considered and voluntary access is denied. Such entry requires a warrant authorised by a Magistrate

Section 5(4)

  • Compulsory detention in hospital by a registered nurse for up to 6 hours for the purpose of consideration of Section 5(2) – see below;
  • The service user must already be receiving treatment for mental disorder as an in-patient.

Section 5(2)

  • Compulsory detention in hospital, usually by the doctor in charge of the patient’s care (but Approved Clinicians from non-medical backgrounds may undertake this role)
  • Detention can last for up to 72 hours to allow a Mental Health Act assessment to take place.
  • The service user must already be an in-patient in hospital, but not necessarily for treatment for mental disorder.

Section 4

  • Emergency admission to hospital for up to 72 hours to allow a Mental Health Act assessment to take place.
  • Requires one medical recommendation;
  • Not more than 24 hours must have elapsed between the medical assessment and admission.

Section 2

  • Admission to hospital for assessment, followed by medical treatment if necessary, for up to 28 days;
  • Requires two medical recommendations one of which should be made by a doctor who knows the service user;
  • Not more than 5 days must have elapsed between the medical assessments;
  • An application for detention under Section 2 can be made by an AMHP or the patient’s nearest relative;
  • Admission must be within 14 days after the last medical recommendation has been completed.
  • Section 2 cannot be renewed

Section 3

  • Admission to hospital for treatment for up to 6 months; appropriate medical treatment must be available.
  • Requires 2 medical recommendations one of which should be made by a doctor who knows the service user;
  • Not more than 5 days must have elapsed between the medical assessments.
  • An application for detention under Section 3 can be made by an AMHP or the patient’s nearest relative;
  • Admission must be within 14 days after the last medical recommendation has been completed.
  • Section3 can be renewed for a second period of up to 6 months and then annually
  • The patient’s nearest relative can object to the detention

Community Treatment Order (CTO)

  • Allows certain in-patients to be discharged with some conditions, and allows them to be recalled to the original section if it is necessary for them to return to hospital
  • There are two mandatory conditions for all people on CTO. These concern the renewal of the CTO and the rules about medical treatment
  • Other conditions which must relate to:
    • receiving medical treatment;
    • preventing harm to self;
    • protecting others.
  • CTOs are intended to:
    • improve engagement with services;
    • promote improved mental health;
    • allow for a quick response to crisis situations;
    • support service users and carers.

Section 117

  • This section concerns the duty to provide after care for people who are subject to certain sections of the Act in order to support their mental health for as long as they require it
  • Service user does not have to pay for the services provided under Section 117
  • To stop it must be discharge by Local Authority and Clinical Commissioning Group.

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