Mental Health Act

On this page you can find information and guidance about mental health law, including the Mental Health Act 1983 and the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

The Mental Health Act 

The Mental Health Act is a law that guides the compulsory treatment and care of people with mental health problems. 

If you're very unwell, you might be kept in one of our hospitals for treatment under a section of the Mental Health Act, or allowed to leave hospital under a community treatment order.

Your rights under the Mental Health Act

If you're in hospital under section, you have the right to know why you've been detained and your right to appeal. 

You also have the right to free and confidential support from an independent mental health advocate. Your nearest relative also has particular powers under the act. 

Ask a member of staff if you have any questions, concerns or feedback about your section. 

You can also find out more about the Mental Health Act on the NHS website. 

Inpatient sections 

Nearest relative information 

Court orders and prison transfers (patients concerned in criminal proceedings or under sentence)

Care Quality Commission

Warrants and Police power to remove a person to a place of safety

Community Treatment Order 

Recall (of a community patient) and what happens next 

An IMHA is someone who is trained in the Mental Health Act to support people under section to understand their rights and take part in decisions about their care and treatment. IMHAs are independent and provide free and confidential support. 

IMHA services are provided by Mind in West Sussex and Brighton & Hove and by PoHWER in East Sussex.

Informal patient information

You may be an informal patient if you've agreed to come into hospital for assessment and/or treatment for acute mental health difficulties, or you've been detained under the Mental Health Act, but your section has ended and you have remained on the ward.
The leaflets below explain your rights as an informal patient.


The Mental Capacity Act

The Mental Capacity Act is a law designed to protect and empower people who may lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions about their care and treatment.

If you're assessed to lack capacity in relation to a particular decision, then a decision will be made in your best interests. This can include decisions about your care, treatment and day to day decisions.

Find out more about the Mental Capacity Act on the NHS website.

Deprivation of liberty

Sometimes restrictions are placed on a person who lacks capacity to give their consent. This is called a deprivation of liberty. When this happens, the hospital applies to their local authority for the arrangements to be assessed and authorised.

Find out more about the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards on the NHS website or see this easy read information leaflet.

Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA)

An IMCA is someone who has been specially trained to support people who are not able to make certain decisions for themselves and don't have family or friends who are able to speak for them. 

PoHWER provide this service in Sussex, and referrals are made from hospitals or local authority teams.

If you have any queries and you'd like to speak to someone from our Mental Health Act or Mental Capacity Act team, email your name and preferred contact information to: