Mental Health Law

Your Rights
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Information is given below about detention under the Mental Health (Jersey) Law. This includes the criteria for detention, information about different Articles and the rights of someone who has been detained.

This information has been prepared by the Mind Jersey Independent Mental Health Advocate and has been checked by an Approved Social Worker.

Definition of 'Mental Disorder'

The Mental Health Law defines the term ’mental disorder’ as ‘mental illness…..or any other disorder or disability of mind’. This would normally include mental health conditions such as:

  • schizophrenia
  • depression
  • bipolar disorder
  • anxiety disorder
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • eating disorders
  • personality disorders

It also includes other conditions such as dementia, changes in behaviour due to brain injury, mental disorders due to drug use and autistic spectrum disorders.

If you have problems with alcohol or drug use, in practice you should only be detained if you have a mental disorder as well as a drug or alcohol problem.

Who Determines If You Are Detained?

When you are detained, three people must agree that you need to be detained in hospital.

Usually, the three people would be:

  • A Mental Health Professional, referred to as a Duly Authorized Officer (usually a qualified social worker)
  • two doctors

Normally they will make this decision by interviewing you.

During The Interview, What May Be Asked?
  • how you are feeling
  • thoughts that you are having
  • any plans you may have made to harm yourself or others
  • your lifestyle
  • your daily routine
  • whether you have been taking your medication
  • whether you have been using drugs or alcohol
  • your living situation

You might feel that you do not need to be detained. If this is the case, you should let the professionals know the reasons why. You may want to explain more about how things are at home and what support you have in place. They will listen to what you have to say and consider all alternatives to detaining you under the Mental Health Law. It is their duty to consider the least restrictive alternative to coming in to hospital. If you wish to have a friend or family member with you during a Mental Health Law assessment, or if you feel particularly anxious, you should let the Duly Authorized Officer or your nearest relative know.

Find Out More

Download the PDF to find out more about your rights