WHO Guide to Mental and Neurological Health in Primary Care
Homepage Diagnostic checklists Interactive Summary Cards Downloads About this site

WHO Collaborating Centre

Homepage :: Legal issues :: Use of the Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986 :: Use of the Mental Health Order

Use of the Mental Health Order

Compulsory admission for assessment of a patient can only occur when:

  • they are suffering from a mental disorder of a nature or degree that warrants detention in hospital for assessment (or for assessment followed by medical treatment); and
  • failure to detain the patient would create a substantial likelihood of serious physical harm to themselves or to other persons

Criteria for likelihood of serious physical harm are evidence of one of the following:

  • the patient has inflicted, or threatened or attempted to inflict, serious physical harm on themselves
  • the patient's judgement is so affected that they are, or would soon be, unable to protect themselves against serious physical harm and that reasonable provision for their protection is not available in the community
  • the patient has behaved violently towards other persons or so behaved themselves that other persons are placed in reasonable fear of serious physical harm to themselves.

Mental disorder comprises mental illness, mental handicap, severe mental handicap and severe mental impairment. In the Order, mental illness is defined as a ‘state of mind which affects a person's thinking, perceiving, emotion or judgment to the extent that he requires care or medical treatment in his own interests or the interests of other persons'.

The Order cannot be used for the compulsory treatment of addictions, personality disorders or sexual deviancy, unless the above criteria are also met.

Last edited: 21/1/2004

PREVIOUS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 NEXT
(Page 2 of 7 in this chapter).

© 2003-4 World Health Organization - UK Collaborating Centre