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Family member, friend or yourself just been sectioned?

Being sectioned can be a very frightening experience, bringing a great sense of injustice. Your relationship with your family may break down completely. This is why it is often worth appealing against the section. You can do this in two ways, neither of which costs money as legal aid covers it. There are solicitors who specialise in this work. You can appeal both to the Mental Health Review Tribunal and the Hospital Managers. Having a solicitor come to see you as well as getting dates for the hearings provides a sense of the possibility of justice and helps pass the time - which can at best be monotonous otherwise. It can seem that apart from other patients the solicitor is the only person in the world on your side. Also just because the hospital was right to section you does not mean it is not worth appealing. By the time the appeals come you may be well enough to be released as adjudged by the Tribunal or the Hospital Managers but not the Responsible Medical Officer. I have been released three times in fact: once by the Mental Health Review Tribunal, once by the Hospital Managers and once by my own GP with a social worker. Having a solicitor with an appeal in progress has another effect: it lessens the urge to escape or abscond, both of which I have done in my time.

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