Independent Advocacy and the Mental Health Act:

The Mental Health (Care and Treatment) (Scotland) Act 2003 – the Mental Health Act, or MHA – applies to ‘mental disorders’, a broad category that includes mental illnesses, learning disabilities, dementia, and personality disorders.

The Mental Health Act gives you a right to Independent Advocacy if you are subject to certain compulsory measures under the Act:

  • Short-Term Detention, for up to 28 days.
  • Compulsory Treatment Order, either Hospital- or Community-based.

Independent Advocacy can support you to appeal a Short-Term Detention, or to contest a Compulsory Treatment Order. We can provide you with a list of experienced Mental Health solicitors, and you can apply for Legal Aid if you require it. Your Advocacy Worker will also support you to speak to your solicitor and to attend the Mental Health Tribunal.

A group of people walking away from the camera along a woodland path

There are other very short-term compulsory measures, which you do not have the right to appeal:

  • Nurse’s Holding Power, for up to 2 hours in a hospital until a doctor can examine you.
  • Police Power to Remove to a Place of Safety, for up to 24 hours until a doctor can examine you.
  • Emergency Detention, for up to 72 hours until you can be assessed to see if a Short-Term Detention is necessary.

Ceartas can support people subject to compulsory measures to make sure their rights are upheld and their views are taken into account, and we can support them to use the measures in the Mental Health Act to safeguard their own welfare.

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    I live quite a long distance away from my sister. When she needed to get some more support in place for her dementia, the information about local services and support that you were able to give me was invaluable. I can't thank you enough.
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    Thank you for your support at the last meeting. It’s great having somebody independent in my corner: not sure what I would have done or where I would be otherwise.
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  • Sarah
    Even a ten minute chat on the phone made me feel so much better. I was becoming frustrated and annoyed at not getting what I needed from services, but talking to my Advocacy Worker kept me grounded and stopped me from losing the rag with anyone.
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    After waiting months, you got the ball rolling with a number of things and for that I thank you.
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    I am usually apprehensive about contacting organisations in fear of being passed pillar to post. I was delighted when I contacted Ceartas: although I didn’t need advocacy, you talked me through local services that I needed.
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    Thank you for your prompt and informative reply. It’s appreciated more than you will know.
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    It's really nice to know that someone is listening to me and taking me seriously. Other people seem to think that my problems are trivial and aren't worth bothering about, but that is not true. My Advocacy Worker helped me to make my point in such a way that I couldn't be ignored, and now things are starting to improve as a result.
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  • Richard
    I felt like I was facing a brick wall until I started receiving support and information from Ceartas. The outcome of that has led to a much better relationship with the rest of the family, and now we are all pulling in the same direction.
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    Thanks for discussing things and then sending us some information in the post: we have now started the Power of Attorney process.
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