Section 135 mental health act (A brief guide)
In this guide, we will talk about section 135 mental health act what it is and what it involves for a more comprehensive perspective.
Section 135 mental health act: What is it?
According to Mind Charity, the Section 135 mental health act allows the police to enter your home and take you to (or keep you at) a place of safety so that a mental health assessment can be done.
This could involve keeping you at home.
However, the police can’t actually go into your house without a warrant from the magistrate’s court allowing them to enter your home.
An application for a warrant must be made by an approved mental health practitioner (AMHP) and can be given where there is reasonable cause to believe that you:
- Have been diagnosed or appear to have a mental disorder
- Are being ill-treated or neglected
- Can’t look after yourself or live alone
Additionally, an approved mental health practitioner and a registered medical practitioner must accompany the police.
Also, they indicate how “The police can keep you at the place of safety for up to 24 hours, which can be extended for another 12 hours if it was not possible to assess you at that time. The time starts when you arrive at the place of safety, or whenever the police arrived if you are not taken somewhere else.”
Additionally, Graham Durcan’s Review of sections 135 and 136 of the Mental Health Act indicates how Section 135 has two parts.
The first part “allows a magistrate to issue a warrant to the police allowing entry (by force if necessary) to a private place, for example, someone’s home, to remove a person who an Approved Mental Health Practitioner (AMHP) has reasonable grounds for suspecting is suffering from a mental disorder and not capable of caring for themselves, or is being mistreated/neglected or is not able to be controlled.”
This warrant needs to specify the designated “place of safety” but does not have to name the person.
An approved mental health practitioner will have approached the court for the warrant and will have had to provide evidence to justify the case.
Ideally, the warrant will be executed as soon as possible but in some cases, the warrant can be executed anytime within a calendar month of being issued.
This warrant authorizes the removal of the person to a “place of safety” for the purpose of an assessment under the Mental Health Act.
The police officer needs to be accompanied by an AMHP and a registered medical practitioner.
A place of safety can be a hospital or a local authority residential accommodation or another care setting or a police station.
What are my rights?
According to rethink.org, if you are already in the hospital, hospital managers have to:
- Make sure you understand why you have been detained
- Make sure you have information about your detention
- Make sure you are helped to get legal advice if you ask for it
If the police take you to a police station, it doesn’t mean that you have done anything wrong.
- You have the right to be told why you have been detained
- You have the right to get the police to tell someone where you are and what’s happened
- You have the right to get free legal advice from a solicitor
- You have the right to get medical treatment from an appropriate healthcare professional
Can I be searched?
According to rethink.org, you can only be searched if the police officer believes that you:
- May be harmful to other people or for yourself.
- Are potentially hiding something that could be used to hurt yourself or other people
Your mouth can be searched.
If you are searched, you will not be asked to take off your clothes. But you can be asked to take off your:
- outer coat
A police officer can keep anything they find on you. They can do this if they believe that you might use it to cause harm to yourself or other people.
Assessment of a person removed by police under a court warrant
This refers to Section 135 of the Mental Health Act.
The patient information leaflet from the Northumberland Tyne and Wear (NHS Foundation Trust) explains the following scenarios to the patient:
“Why am I in the Hospital?”
“You have been brought to this place of safety under section 135 of the Mental Health Act because an approved mental health professional thinks that you have a mental disorder and you may need treatment or care. An approved mental health professional is someone who has been specially trained to help decide whether people need to be in the hospital. A magistrate has issued a warrant saying that you can be removed from your property, and brought here and kept here even if you do not want to come.”
“How long will I be here?”
You can be kept here (or in another place where you will be safe) for 24 hours so that you can be seen by a doctor and an approved mental health professional.
A doctor can extend this for up to 12 hours if they are unable to complete the assessment due to your clinical presentation.
If these people agree that you need to remain in the hospital, a second doctor may be asked to see you, to confirm their decision.
During this time you must not leave unless you are told that you may. If you try to go, the staff can stop you, and if you leave you can be brought back.
If the doctors and the approved mental health professional have not seen you by the end of the 24 hours, and no extension has been made, you will be free to leave.
You may decide to stay on as a voluntary patient. But if you do want to leave, please talk to a member of staff first.
The person should be informed when the 24 hours end at.
“What happens next?”
When the physicians and the approved mental health professional have assessed you, they will give their professional opinion on whether you need to stay for longer.
They will inform you why and for how long, in addition, you will be given another leaflet that explains the next step.
In the given case they decide you don’t have to stay, someone will talk to you about what other options you should have.
“Can I appeal?”
No, even if you decide to appeal because you don’t actually agree with the decision to stay in the hospital, you can’t appeal against a decision to keep you in the hospital under section 135.
“Will I be given treatment?”
You will be informed by the hospital staff about the treatment they think you may need.
This will happen on admission if it is considered necessary not at the place of safety suite.
However, you have the right to refuse any treatment you don’t want.
Only under special circumstances, an explanation will be given if necessary, can you be given the treatment you are not agreeing to.
Code of Practice
“There is a Code of Practice that gives advice to the staff in the hospital about the Mental Health Act and treating people for a mental disorder. The staff has to consider what the Code says when they make decisions about your care. You can ask to see a copy of the Code if you want.”
Why is this blog about Section 135 mental health act important?
It is important to understand what Section 135 mental health act encompasses.
We have discussed how no one can enter your house without a warrant and after certain evidence has been presented to support that you need to be taken to a place of safety so that a mental health assessment can be done to guarantee your wellbeing.
This could involve keeping you at home, a hospital or another place considered safe for you.
Initially, the time frame is 24 hours but it can be extended 12 more hours if necessary.
Also, you have the right to know every step of the way about what is going on and even refuse to get treatment.
However, in some special circumstances, you can’t refuse to get treatment but you will be informed.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about mental health act
What is Section 135 of the Mental Health Act?
Section 135 of the mental health act is the power to remove a person from a house, flat or another place of residence if there is evidence that they may have a mental disorder and they may need care and attention for this, also if they are ill-treated, being neglected or live alone.
What is a section 135 warrant?
Section 135 warrants the police the ability to enter your home and take you or keep you at a safe place so that a mental health assessment can be done.
This could involve keeping you at home or at a hospital.
This needs to be issued by a magistrate’s court allowing them to enter your home.
What is section 136 mental health?
Section 136 mental health allows a police officer to remove a person from a public place that needs to be a place where the public has access, including by payment.
The removal is in order that the person in question can be assessed under the conditions laid out in the Mental Health Act.
No warrant is required as it is in the case of Section 135.
How long does a Section 135 warrant last?
A section 135 warrant lasts 28 days (including the day on which it was issued) once the warrant has been obtained and arrangements should be confirmed with the police, ambulance service and any other parties involved.
What is Section 137 of the Mental Health Act?
Section 137 of the mental health act indicated that the period of detention should begin when the police officer takes the person into their custody in order to remove the person to a place of safety.
- PROCEDURE – Section 135 Mental Health Act 1983 (Essex Police)
- Patient Information leaflet: Northumberland, Tyne and Wear