Q: I have recently been detained in hospital under section 3 of the Mental Health Act but I do not agree with my detention and I want to challenge the Doctor’s decision to detain me. What are my options?
A: If you do not agree with your detention in hospital, there are several ways of obtaining your discharge.
You can speak to your responsible clinician and request that they discharge you from your section. This must be done if you no longer meet the statutory requirements necessary for your detention. This could be because your mental health has improved and you no longer need to be kept in hospital for your own health or safety or for the protection of others.
You can also apply for a Hospital Managers’ Hearing at any point to consider your discharge from hospital. You can have legal representation as these hearings to give you the best chance of securing a discharge.
Or you can request that your ‘Nearest Relative’ discharge you. Your nearest relative can give your doctors 72 hours’ notice in writing of your discharge. If your doctor doesn’t object to your discharge then once the 72 hours have passed you are free to leave the hospital. If your doctor does object to your release, then a Hospital Managers’ Hearing will be arranged to consider your detention.
Finally, you can apply to a Mental Health Tribunal to be discharged. As you are under section 3 of the Mental Health Act you are allowed one Tribunal per period of detention. As you have only recently been detained in hospital you are permitted one Tribunal for the first six months of your detention. You can also have legal representation at the Tribunal and you will be able to apply for Legal Aid.
A specialist mental health practitioner would be able to provide you will full information.