Your rights when detained under the Mental Health Act in England

Advice and Guidance

Who is this page for?

  • patients and their nearest relatives
  • Independent Mental Health Advocates
  • staff working in mental health hospitals
  • commissioners and providers of mental health services
  • Approved Mental Health Practitioners and care coordinators

Which countries is it relevant to?

    • England flag icon


First published: 30 Nov 2020

Front cover of your rights when detained under the Mental Health Act in England guidance

These guides explain everything that patients detained in a mental health hospital must be told about their rights under the Human Rights Act and the Equality Act.

Where relevant, they also cover the rights of nearest relatives and patients staying in hospital on a voluntary basis.

The guides cover the forensic and civil sections of the Mental Health Act. For each section, there is a short introductory guide and a longer interactive guide.

The full guide includes information about:

  • being detained in hospital
  • staying in hospital
  • leaving hospital
  • complaints

There is also a word list where you can find definitions for some of the words used in the guide.

Download civil introductory guide (PDF, 281KB) Download civil full guide (PDF, 7MB) Download forensic introductory guide (PDF, 254KB) Download forensic full guide (PDF, 6MB)