If you become unwell with a mental illness,
you may need treatment. In some cases, if you refuse treatment, you
may be detained under the Mental Health Act, or 'sectioned'.
This means you will have to spend time in hospital, even if you
do not want to.
There are three types of detention:
1. Emergency Detention
This allows a person to be held in hospital for up to 72 hours,
while their condition is assessed. It can only take place when
recommended by a doctor. Where possible, a mental health officer
should also agree to it.
2. Short Term Detention
This allows a person to be detained for 28 days. It can only
take place if recommended by a psychiatrist and a mental health
3. Compulsory Treatment Order
This has to be approved by a tribunal. It allows treatment for
six months initially, but could be extended for a further six
months and after that, for a year at a time. It could be in
hospital or in the community.
There are strict rules about when this can happen. The tribunal
can only approve a compulsory treatment order if:
- you have a mental disorder.
- medical treatment is available which could stop your condition
getting worse, or help treat some of your symptoms.
- there would be a significant risk to you, or others, if that
treatment was not provided.
- your ability to make decisions about medical treatment is
significantly impaired because you have a mental disorder.
The use of compulsory powers is necessary.
The law contains safeguards to protect your rights if you are
detained. For example, you have the right to appeal against the
detention, and to nominate a named person who will
look after your interests.
If you or someone you know is affected by this, you may find it
helpful to read this Scottish Government guide "A short introduction to the Mental Health Act".
(This document has not yet been updated with changes to the Act in