What is a Section 135 of the Mental Health Act?

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    What is a Section 135 of the Mental Health Act?

    Section 135 (1) of the Mental Health Act is the power to remove a person from a dwelling if it is considered they have a mental disorder and that they may be in need of care and attention for this.  With the agreement of the person they can be assessed at the dwelling or removed to the place of safety for the assessment to take place there. 

    What is the process for a Section 135 (1) of the Mental Health Act?

    The process is for the Approved Mental Health Professional to present evidence at a Magistrates Court in order to obtain a warrant which will authorise the Police, an Approved Mental Health Professional and a registered medical practitioner to gain entry to the premises in order for assessment to take place there or for the person to be removed to a place of safety.

    What happens when a warrant is granted?

    Once granted the Approved Mental Health Professional with the Police and a registered doctor can enter the property and formulate their assessment or remove to the place of safety if required.  

    What rights does a person on a Section 135 (1) have?

    Once the warrant is executed (it can only be executed once) a copy of the warrant will be provided to them, a copy will also go to the Police and a third copy must be returned to the court.  There are no other official rights as such but obviously if the assessment progresses to a detention under the Mental Health Act then those rights will be invoked at that stage.

    How does a Section 135 (1) work in practice?

    An example in practice would be a service user open to the Community Mental Health Team who was severely depressed with some physiological features.  Her mental and physical health deteriorated so much that her family were very concerned about her living on her own.  The family asked for an assessment, but on our attempts we could not gain access.  We attended court and provided evidence of the concerns and a warrant was granted.  We were then able to access her home and on her agreement conducted the assessment there.  

    Section 135 (2)

    The court can also issue another warrant (135(2) for service users already detained who have absented themselves from hospital and are in a private dwelling. This warrant is applied for by the Police or an authorised person and will authorise them to gain access to the property and return the service user to the hospital where they are detained.