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Principles of the Act

The Mental Health Act principles were created to help people understand how the law should work in practice.

The principles were developed through consultation about what people felt was important to them, when they were being treated for a mental disorder. People who have received care and treatment and carers, as well as professionals, were involved in this consultation.

The principles are a set of guidelines for how professionals should work when providing treatment and care under the Act.

The ten principles of the Act

1. Take your past and present wishes into account.
2. Make sure you get the information and support you need to take part in decisions.
3. Take the views of your carer, named person, guardian, or welfare attorney into account.
4. Look at the full range of options for your care.
5. Give you treatment that provides maximum benefit.
6. Take account of your background, beliefs, and abilities.
7. Make sure that any restrictions on your freedom should be the 'minimum necessary in the circumstances'.
8. Make sure that you are not being treated less favourably than other patients.
9. Your carers' needs are taken into account and they get the information and support they need to help them care for you.
10. Take special care of your welfare if you are under 18 years of age.

If you feel the principles are not being applied to your care and treatment, you should speak to your doctor (responsible medical officer). You may want to get some help from an independent advocacy service who can provide support, and help you get your views across.

You can also phone us on 0800 389 6809. We can help by discussing what the principles mean for your care and treatment.