What are Sections?

Many people in hospitals have agreed to be there and are referred to as ‘voluntary patients’. However, in some cases people can be detained against their will and treated without their agreement. The Mental Health Act (1983) is the legislation that refers to the assessment, treatment and rights of people with mental health. To be detained against your will means that you are being held under a Section or Sections of the Mental Health Act (1983).

Who can section you?

A team of mental health professionals will usually assess you before you are sectioned, which can happen at home, in hospital or in a place of safety. Usually this team would consist of a GP, a psychiatrist and an approved mental health professional (AMHP). In an emergency a Nurse or Police can also section you.

What are the types of Section?

The three main Sections you can be held under are:

Section 2 – If you have a mental disorder and need to be detained for assessment for your own health & safety of protection of others. This Section lasts 28 days.

Section 3 – If you have a mental disorder, need to be detained for assessment for your own health & safety of protection of others, treatment cannot be given outside of hospital and appropriate treatment is available for you. This Section lasts 6 months and can then be renewed on a yearly basis.

Section 4 – If you have a mental disorder, it is urgent to be admitted to hospital and you are waiting for a second doctor to confirm that you need to admitted under a Section 2. This Section lasts 72 hours

What are my rights on a Section?

Although your rights can change depending on which Section you are held under, when you are in hospital you have the rights to:

          Be given information about your section



          Correspondence and telephone access


Depending on your Section, you may be eligible to the following rights:

          Appeal to a Mental Health Tribunal

          Get help and support from an advocate

          Meet with the hospital managers

          Receive care once you leave hospital

How can I get off my section?

If you are under sections 2 or 3 you can:

          Be discharged by your Responsible Clinician (RC)

          Ask a nearest relative to discharge you

          Apply to the Mental Health Tribunal

          Meet with the hospital managers and ask them to discharge you


About Us

Advent Advocacy have provided a nationwide advocacy service since 2007.

Advent Advocacy offers a full range of Advocacy Services including Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA), Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA), Care Act Advocacy, Children’s and Young Person’s Advocacy, Generic Advocacy and Non-Instructed Advocacy services nationwide.

Our independent mental health advocacy services are available throughout the UK.
Call us at 01325 776 554 for more information.