Section 2

I have been admitted to hospital under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act 1983, why am I being held?

You are being held in hospital/mental nursing home for a period of assessment on the advice of two doctors in order for your mental health to be assessed. The reason for this is that there is a belief that:

  • You are suffering from a mental health disorder of a nature or degree that warrants your detention for assessment, and
  • You ought to be detained in the interest of your own health and safety or with a view to protect other persons.

How long will I be here? Can I leave?

You can be kept here for up to 28 days. During this time you must not leave unless your responsible clinician tells you that you may do so. If you do try to leave the staff are authorised to stop you and if you do leave you can be taken back to hospital or mental nursing home.

What will happen next?

Your doctor will tell you if they think you are well enough to leave hospital. They will also discuss with you any treatment or medication that they think you need. This could be at any time during the 28 days.

It is possible that your doctor may decide that you need to be in hospital for longer than 28 days, in which case you may be kept in hospital under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act instead. They must make this decision before the 28 days are over and you will be kept informed about the doctor’s proposals during your stay.

Can I appeal?

Yes you can, our role as solicitors is to help patients who do not feel that they belong in a hospital under a Section.

In order to appeal you can apply for a Hospital Managers’ Meeting where you would be able to ask them to let you leave. They would want to speak to either you, or a person who represents you (such as a solicitor), in order to make that decision. Your nearest relative can also write to the Hospital Managers and request that you be allowed to leave the hospital. If your nearest relative does this, the Hospital Managers must let you leave within the next 72 hours unless you are considered to be a danger to yourself and/or others.

You can also appeal by applying for a Mental Health Review Tribunal. This would give you, or a person who represents you (such as a solicitor), the opportunity to explain your wish for a discharge from hospital in front of your doctor, their medical team and a panel of independent advisors.

You must begin the appeal procedure within 14 days of being admitted to hospital under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act.

Section 2 Lawyers

Sarah Rein BA MSc


Richard Boucher LLB

Senior Associate - Team Leader Mental Health

Andy Cave LLB


Key contact

Richard Boucher LLB

Senior Associate - Team Leader Mental Health

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