Main Sections

Section 2

This section lasts for up to 28 days. Two doctors and an Approved Mental Health Professional decide when someone is put on Section 2. While on a Section 2 a senior doctor known as a Responsible Clinician will be in charge of your care and treatment.

Section 3

This lasts for up to six months. Two doctors and an Approved Mental Health Professional decide when someone is put on Section 3. While on Section 3 a senior doctor called a Responsible Clinician will be in charge of your care and treatment. The main purpose of Section 3 is to treat you for your mental health problem.

If you are under Section 3 and are to leave hospital you have a right to receive aftercare (known as Section 117). This is to help with your mental health needs, as you go back into your community, and is free of charge.

If you are under Section 3 your Responsible Clinician may talk to you about leaving hospital under Supervised Community Treatment. Sometimes this is called a Community Treatment Order (CTO). Leaving hospital under a CTO means that you must continue to have treatment in the community. While on a CTO, you might be brought back to hospital if your care team are concerned about you.

Section 4

If you came to hospital under Section 4 it means the Approved Mental Health Professional assessing you was very concerned about you and needed to act quickly. Section 4 means only one doctor saw you. Section 4 only lasts for up to 72 hours and is usually followed by Section 2 or Section 3.

Section 5 (2)

If you came to hospital without being on a section, you were an 'informal' or 'voluntary' patient. If you wanted to leave and this was not considered appropriate, the decision was made to assess you under Section 2 or Section 3.

It takes time to carry out an assessment and sometimes a person is placed under Section 5(2) to stop them from leaving. Section 5(2) is done by one doctor and only lasts up to 72 hours. It is sometimes called a 'holding power'. During the 72 hours you would be assessed for Section 2 or 3.

Section 5 (4)

If a doctor was not available to use Section 5(2) (see above) a nurse may have stopped you leaving by placing you under Section 5(4). This section only lasts up to six hours and ends when a doctor comes to see you.

Section 136

A small number of people are brought to hospital under Section 136. This is a power which a police officer can use if you were in a public place because the police officer was concerned about you.

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