Section 2

Section 2 allows for a person to be admitted to hospital, for up to 28 days, to assess whether they are suffering from a mental disorder, the type of mental disorder and/or how the person responds to treatment.

When is it used?

Section 2 is used if the person is not known to mental health services, or has not been assessed in hospital before, or in cases where they are known to services but have not been assessed for a considerable time.

What are your rights?

When you are detained under Section 2 your rights will be explained to you by a member of nursing staff.  This includes your right of access to an Independent Mental Health Advocate.

Right to appeal

If you disagree with your sectioning you will have the right of appeal to the Mental Health Tribunal but this must be lodged within 14 days of your detention under Section 2.

You are entitled to free legal representation at the Tribunal and you will have the right to choose your own solicitor.

You are also entitled to appeal to the Mental Health Act Managers at any time during your detention.

Right to refuse treatment

Whilst detained under Section 2 you do not have the right to refuse treatment apart from electro-convulsive treatment (ECT) which can only be given without your consent if specific criteria are met.


Although Section 2 lasts for 28 days you can be discharged early from the section by:

a)     Your Responsible Clinician – the doctor in charge of your care

b)    The Mental Health Tribunal

c)     The Mental Health Act Managers

d)    Your nearest relative

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Page last reviewed: 8 July, 2021