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Helping Paul

Paul* is a 43 year old man who has no history of accessing mental health services. He was detained by the police on a section 136 when he crashed his car into a wall with no other vehicles involved. After being treated for minor injuries he was taken by the police to the mental health acute in patient ward attached to the hospital.

Here, Paul was given a mental health assessment and agreed to stay in hospital as an informal patient. Paul stayed on the ward for two days but then attempted to leave. At this point Paul was detained under section 2 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (amended in 2007).  This detention lasts for 28 days.

Paul was so distressed by this that he was moved from the main ward to a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit. He was given his rights under the Mental Health Act and was advised of his right to an Independent Mental Health Advocate to support him around his detention. He agreed to a referral being made to the advocacy service.

How we helped

One of our Independent Advocates rang the ward and arranged to visit Paul. During the visit the Advocate advised Paul of his rights but he was unable to take these on board. We arranged to visit Paul again in two days.

During the second visit Paul could not recall the Advocate from previous visit. He could however recall the events which led to his admission to hospital. He could not understand why he was there and he had never had mental issues health before.

The Advocate explained their role in supporting Paul around his detention by helping him access and understand the restrictions of the section, what his rights are under the Mental Health Act and to help him be heard about what he wanted around his care and treatment. The Advocate went through all the papers with Paul and explained he had a right to appeal his detention, they also explained that they were able to support him at any meetings.

Paul informed the Advocate that there was a meeting in two days and asked that the Advocate to attend and support him. The Advocate arranged to meet Paul half an hour prior to the meeting to help him prepare some notes.

Paul attended the meeting with the advocate. He used the list of questions he had prepared prior to the meeting, which was mainly around medication and discharge. The psychiatrist felt that Paul no longer needed to be under a section but asked him to stay for a few days as a voluntary patient. Paul agreed to stay for a further two days and also to some visits from the Restart team.


Improved health and well being – Paul was able to voice his concerns with someone independent. It was agreed that the Advocate would help Paul prepare for his meeting which improved his confidence and self-esteem

Freedom from discrimination – Paul’s views were listened to and decisions were made on an individual basis and not judged purely on his mental health status. References were made to Mental Health Act throughout visits and during the meeting.

Personal dignity – Paul felt as though he had been listened to and all options had been explored.

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the people we support

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