Despite the many depictions in popular culture, few of us really know what the sectioning process involves. Here’s why sectioning happens, and what happens to your rights if you’re detained under the Mental Health Act.
For most people, the idea of being sectioned is quite a scary concept. As well as being shrouded in mystery (when did you last hear someone talk openly about the sectioning process?), our ideas of sectioning are often confused by TV and film. We might think of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, or a similarly dystopian portrayal.
However, being sectioned (detained under the Mental Health Act) can be a lifeline to those who need it, ensuring their personal safety at a time when they’re seriously unwell. It’s not an intervention anyone would wish on themselves or their loved ones. But as and when it’s necessary, it can get people started back on the road to full health.
“People held under the Mental Health Act are often in crisis,” explains Will Johnstone, policy manager at Rethink Mental Illness. “This can be very scary for them and they may not fully understand what’s happening, or even that they are ill. While this can be difficult, being held under the Act has been a turning point for many people, giving them access to treatments and medication that can help them start to successfully manage their illness.”
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