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Your Detention under the Mental Health Act : Useful Words and Phrases

February 01 2012

This list details some of the more commonly used words and phrases you may hear used in hospital.

Legal Advocate /Solicitor

An Advocate/Solicitor is a person who is not employed by the Hospital but who will visit you in the Hospital to give information to you about your rights under the Mental Health Act .

They can help arrange for you to appeal to the First Tier Mental Health Tribunal or the Hospital Managers  against being detained under the Mental Health Act.

Grahame Stowe Bateson has a team of qualified Solicitor/Advocates who will visit you on the ward and ensure your rights are upheld, and represent you interests at your appeal to the Tribunal or Hospital Managers.

We can be contacted on :  0113 2760044 / 0113 2468163 /01423 562121 07525323261

Approved Clinician

 An Approved Clinician is a qualified health professional who is approved to provide care and treatment for patients who are subject to the Mental Health Act.

 An Approved Clinician may be a doctor, nurse, social worker, psychologist, or an occupational therapist.

Approved Mental Health Professional

Known as the AMHP- the approved mental health professional is one of the three people needed to approve the detention of a person under the Mental Health Act.

The AMHP may be a nurse, social worker, psychologist, an occupational therapist or community psychiatric nurse.


Being in hospital for assessment means that your mental health has deteriorated and the medical professionals need to establish what is wrong with you. This process involves you, your nearest relative and your care team working out what your mental health needs are and what you need to meet them. This assessment may be done in hospital or in the community.

 You may need regular visits from the community mental health team to your home or regular out patient appointments with health professionals or admission to hospital. If you are in hospital the care team will monitor your behaviour on the ward and your response to medication.

Bipolar Affective Disorder

Bi-Polar Affective Disorder is a severe mental illness with repeated episodes of mania and depression,when unwell a person suffering from Bi-Polar Affective Disorder may need hospital admission.


Consent is giving your permission. You may be asked for your consent to treatment ie: medication or therapy . If you are detained in hospital treatments in particular medication may be given without your consent.


Capacity is the ability to understand, and retain information. It is ability to communicate you thoughts opinions and feelings. Capacity is assessed by your doctor and involves he/she assessing your capacity to make decisions about your care and other aspects of you life.

Capacity can fluctuate when your mental health deteriorates. Capacity under the Mental Health Act and Mental Capacity Act is a measure of a persons ability to make decisions. 

Care Plan

A care plan in also sometimes known as a treatment plan, and is formulated to meet your mental health and social care needs.

The clinical team should discuss this with you the medication or therapy you need  in order that you will consent to it rather than using the powers of the Mental Health Act to enforce it.

In Formal Patient

An in-formal patient is someone who has agreed to stay in hospital and consent to assessment or treatment without detention under the Mental Health Act.

Formal Patient

Formal or detained  patient is someone who is subject to the Mental Health Act.

Mental Health Act

The Mental Health Act 1983 (as amended) 2007 is the law which allows the admission of people to psychiatric hospital against their will. it governs their rights while detained, decides their discharge from hospital, and determines the aftercare support they will receive in the community. The Act applies in England and Wales. Its full name is the Mental Health Act 1983 as amended in 2007.

Mental Health Act Code of Practice

The Code of practise document gives guidance to all clinical/administrative practise by  clinical practitioners, health staff, hospital managers in fact anyone who has contact with people who have mental disorder. If you are detained in hospital it gives guidance to all staff who have involvement in your detention on how to fulfil their duty of care to you.

The Code of Practice is not law, however individuals choosing not to follow its guidance must provide strong evidence for doing so.

Mental Disorder

The Mental Health Act defines a mental disorder as ‘any disorder or disability of the mind'

Multi Disciplinary Team

The team of people who will care for you who will be both clinical and social care workers


Is the specialist Dr who has trained in medicine and then specialised in the area of psychiatry.  A Psychiatrist will often be the responsible clinician  who prescribes  medication for a person's mental health problems.


Psychologist will be involved in the therapeutic treatment of people with mental disorder similar to counselling/talking therapies. If the psychologist has ‘Dr' before their name it means they have completed an academic doctorate but this is not  the same thing as a doctor who is medically trained.

Psychotic Disorder

A experience of mental disturbance that involves the sudden onset of at least one of the following positive psychotic  symptoms: delusional beliefs, auditory hallucinations, visual hallucinations disorganized speech. When unwell sufferers of a psychotic disorder may need hospital admission.


A severe mental disorder of the mind characterized by change  of personality and loss of contact with reality. There is often a lack of ability to deal with the ordinary daily activities, although your memory and intellect may remain intact.

Responsible Clinician

Is the man or woman who is the Approved Clinician and who has overall responsibility for your care  and treatment whilst you are detained under the Mental health Act. A Responsible Clinician will usually but not always be a Doctor. He/she will prescribe medication and other treatments he/she thinks are appropriate for the care and treatment  of the detained patient.


A severe mental illness characterized by a disintegration of the process of thinking, of contact with reality, and of emotional responsiveness. Delusions and hallucinations (especially of voices) are usual features, and the person may feel that thoughts, sensations and actions are controlled by or shared with others. The person may become socially withdrawn and lose energy. No single cause of the disease is known.

Second Opinion Appointed Doctor (SOAD)

A second opinion is an independent doctor appointed by the Mental Health Act Commission who gives a second opinion about whether some patients should be given certain types of treatment. The responsible clinician has a duty to appoint a SOAD if the person they are treating does not consent to that treatment, or is deemed incapable of consenting..


The most commonly used term for detention under the Mental Health Act this is because the Mental Health Act like other acts of Parliament is divided into sections. The correct term for ‘being sectioned' is ‘ under detention' or ‘being detained'.

Supervised Community Treatment

Supervised Community Treatment is provided by way of a Comunity Treatment Order,

This means you will remain subject to the Mental Health Act after you have left hospital.   The patient must agree to certain  conditions attached to the order. You cannot be forced to take medication but if you agree to take it as a condition of the CTO then you may be liable to recall to hospital is your mental health deteriorates as a result.. 


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