Detention under section 136(1) of the Mental Health Act 1983 allows for the police to arrest a person from a public place and remove them to a ‘place of safety’, typically an emergency department or mental-health unit if it is ‘in the interests of that person or for the protection of other persons in immediate need of care or control’.
Aims/objective: The aim of this study was to describe the views and perceptions of the process for people with lived experience of mental distress who have been detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a non-probability sample of people with lived experience of mental distress who have been detained under section 136 across Greater London. Interviews were transcribed and thematically analysed using grounded theory. Fifty-eight people with lived experience of mental distress detained under section 136, including four carers, participated in this study.
Three interwoven themes were identified: (a) process or procedural issues; (b) the professional–patient relationship; and (c) the importance of a supportive therapeutic environment.
The length of time, multiple assessment points and processes juxtapose against the need for a humane physical environment and supportive therapeutic interactions from all professional agencies. It is unclear how changes proposed in the Policing and Crime Act 2017 will address these patient needs.
Arun Sondhi, Lisa Luger, Lina Toleikyte, Emma Williams
Medicine, Science and the Law, Vol 58, Issue 3, 2018