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Mental Health Act Essay

The main purpose of this act is to allow action to be taken, where necessary, to make sure that people with mental health difficulties or learning difficulties get the care and treatment they need for their own health and safety or for the protection of other people. The Mental Health Act 1983 is the law in most of the united kingdom that allows people with a ‘mental disorder’ to be admitted to hospital, detained and treated without their consent if it is truly needed, and if for their own health and safety or for the protection of other people. The court can also admit people who they believe that could be a danger to themselves and others around them.

However the hospital can only keep the person detained for a maximum of six months, but they can decide to discharge the patient but still have on going supervised community treatment. A doctor who is ‘approved’ under section 12 of the Act is approved on behalf of the Secretary of State because they have special expertise knowledge in the diagnosis and treatment of ‘mental disorders’. Doctors who are approved clinicians are automatically also approved under section 12. Section 12 approved doctors have a role in deciding whether someone should be detained in hospital under section 2 and section 3 of the Mental Health Act.

An approved clinician is a doctor, a psychologist, a mental health nurse, an occupational therapist or a social worker who has been trained and approved for over at least five years to carry out certain duties under Act. Only approved clinicians can take overall responsibility for the case of someone who has been detained in hospital or put on supervised community treatment – be their ‘responsible clinician’ the legislation states that the nearest relative is someone’s husband, wife or unmarried partner and only of they have been living together for over six months.

The person is unmarried or does not have a partner if next of kin will then be there children if they are over 18, however if the child is not over eighteen or there is no child present the next of kin will then be one of their parents. However, a nearest relative should be informed or consulted if mental health professionals are proposing to detain someone for treatment under the Mental Health Act unless it is not practicable to do so, or unless consultation would result in ‘unreasonable delay.’


You may be required to take medication prescribed for you by your doctor if you are on a community treatment order (CTO) under the Mental Health Act. There are rules in place, called consent to treatment, that cover whether you should take it. These rules also ensure that you understand why you need to take the treatment, how it will be given to you and possible side-effects. When you are first given medication for your mental illness, your doctor should: explain what the medication is for.

tell you about any side-effects.
ask for your consent.
What happens next?

After one month, if you still give consent to continue taking your medication, your doctor will fill in a certificate to confirm this. However, if you are too unwell to give consent, your doctor must have the agreement of a Second Opinion Appointed Doctor (SOAD) for your treatment to continue. If the SOAD agrees that you should continue with all of your medication, or just some of it, they will fill in a certificate confirming this. Can I change my mind?

You can change your mind at any time – even after you have agreed to continue taking your medication. You should talk to your doctor before you make any decisions. What if I do not give my consent?

If you refuse your medication while on a community treatment order, your doctor cannot force you to take it. However, if your doctor believes that you may become unwell without taking the treatment, they can recall you back to hospital. Additionally, consent to treatment rules may not apply to you if: Your life is at risk.

Your health will deteriorate without the treatment.
You are a danger to yourself or others.

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