Monday, 6 January 2014
What is a section 136?
A section 136 is used by the police to detain someone under the mental health act for behaviour that is a threat to the self or others, performed in a public place, which is thought to be caused by mental illness.
The detained individual is taken to a place of safety, which should be a mental health wards 136 suite, but can be a police cell or an A&E psych room.
The detained individual should be transported by ambulance, or if they agree, a police car, if necessary (due to violence) a police van.
The detained individual can be held for up to 72 hours in the "place of safety" to be assessed by a mental health team, consisting of a Psychiatric doctor and a mental health social worker, who will decide whether the individual should be treated in the community or admitted to a ward, either voluntarily or by section 2 or 3 of the mental health act.
What kind of thing do people get sectioned for?
Suicidal behaviour e.g. Trying to jump off a bridge or in front of a train, trying to run into a main road, trying to hang yourself in a public place.
Voiced suicidal thoughts and ideation, especially if a plan is formed.
Acting in a way that shows a disconnection from reality e.g. acting towards or speaking to someone or something that isn't there (hallucinations).
Stating that external forces are out to get you or similar (delusions).
And more, but that's all I can think of.
If you are any of these, and not in a public space, police cannot hold you under a section 136 unless they take you to a public place (e.g. Onto a footpath by your house).
The aim of a section 136 is to help the individual get the help they need, and also to stop mental health services being able to turn people away when they are in crisis.
Being detained can be a very different experience for people, depending on circumstances and which place of safety your taken too. The first time it can be very scary, especially if you've not been on a psychiatric ward before. Depending on your level of co-operation you may or may not be handcuffed and restrained. You will be searched for any sharp objects, and you should be told that you are being detained, if you aren't sure you can ask.
A police officer will take your details once you are considered not at risk, such as in their car or in a designated place of safety. Wherever your detained you may be offered some information about a section 136, such as what it is, where you are, what will happen next, and when you are free to go if not earlier, and providing further sectioning isn't taking place.
If your on a ward, nursing staff should be available to talk to, and may offer you food and drink, they should also keep you updated about when a doctor will see you. They will take away your belongings but you may be able to keep your phone, they will keep them safe until you are either released or admitted.
When discharged you should have arranged contact out meet with a mental health professional such as your care co-ordinator or the crisis team. You may also get prescribed medication or given information about different options.
And for me, the most important thing, was knowing I wasn't alone, I had friends who still cared, I had friends at Minds Like Ours, and most importantly, I had God right by my side.
I may not be able to leave the house today, but I can give you a greater knowledge of something mental health related.