Being sectioned is when someone suffering from a mental health problem is taken away for treatment. This is most often
when someone admits themselves to a mental health hospital voluntariarly, however, there are also some people sectioned unwillingly. Those who fail to admit there’s anything wrong with them can be sectioned, especially in situations where they may be deemed a danger to either themselves or others. The act that gives this power is The Mental Health Act 1983.
When someone is sectioned, they are admitted to a mental health department of hospital, often detained and treated against their will. However, this is not a decision health professionals make lightly. There are many stipulations in relation to who can and can’t be sectioned, dependent upon the severity of their situation. The Mental health act 1983 states that the following must apply:
- The patient must be in need of immediate hospital treatment
- The patient mustn’t be able to make any sound decisions for themselves
- The patient must have previously self-harmed or hurt themselves, or others
- The patient may have had suicidal thoughts before
- The patient must appear to be mentally ill
Recently in the news for being sectioned was the television presenter, Gail Porter, who has spoken about the month she spent in hospital after being sectioned, just three months after being discharged. She described her days of lying in a bed surrounded by crazed, violent, suicidal patients, ‘drugged up to the eyeballs’ as she recalls.
With nothing but a shared television and cups of vending machine tea and coffee to keep her entertained, Gail has spoken about how she finally feels she’s turned a corner in her life, although she’s not sure that’s thanks to being sectioned. Left to their own devices all day, simply locked in a room, she’s said how she never thought she’d leave the hospital, and the day she did was the best one of her life.
For those who think being sectioned is an easy option, where you’ll be looked after and will quickly get better, it seems there’s so much more to it than that, with the process very much a battle.