How we help protect your rights under the Mental Health Act

Page last updated: 5 April 2023

We monitor the use of the Mental Health Act and help protect people whose rights are restricted under that Act.

Most people receiving mental health care do not have their rights restricted. But sometimes a person may need their rights restricted for their own health and safety, or the safety of other people.

Mental Health Act reviewers

Our Mental Health Act reviewers make sure that the powers of the Mental Health Act are used properly. They can visit and protect people whose rights are restricted in hospital.

Reviewers come from a variety of professional backgrounds, from doctors to lawyers, and are independent of the service providing care.

Your rights around treatment

When you are detained or placed on a Community Treatment Order (CTO), your doctor must check if you agree to your treatment or not, or if you are too unwell to agree to treatment.

Your doctor may then need to ask us for a Second Opinion Appointed Doctor (SOAD). A SOAD is an independent consultant psychiatrist who will check whether the recommended treatment is appropriate and that your views and rights have been considered.

Support from other services

Independent mental health advocates (IMHA)

Independent mental health advocates (IMHAs) can give you support and help you find out about your rights and how to use them.