Apply for a mental health assessment

People must be over 18 to undergo a mental health assessment and treatment.

You can get help to apply for a mental health assessment for someone else from a doctor, your local mental health crisis team or a Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

Mental health crisis team (external link)

Citizens Advice Bureau website (external link)

There are no specific mental health treatment forms. Instead, you need to write out an application.

Your application should be sent to the Director of Area Mental Health Services.  In your application, you must say how you know the person and why you think they may have a mental disorder. You also need to include a certificate from a medical practitioner or doctor that says they have examined the person within the last 3 days and they think that person may have a mental disorder.  Your doctor, local mental health crisis team or a CAB can help you do all this.

What happens after you make an application for someone to be assessed

Before someone can be ordered to undergo treatment, they’re first assessed. The Mental Health Service will decide when and where the assessment will take place.

Preliminary assessment

After an application is made, a medical practitioner or doctor (called the responsible clinician) assesses the patient. This is called a preliminary assessment.

The preliminary assessment takes 5 days and the responsible clinician must decide if there are reasonable grounds to believe the patient has a mental disorder.

After 5 days, a certificate of preliminary assessment is issued and the patient is told in writing if the responsible clinician believes more assessments and treatment are needed.

Further assessment

If the responsible clinician thinks the patient has a mental disorder, they can issue a certificate of further assessment. The patient must be told in writing that they have to go through further assessments and treatment over a period of 14 days.

Final assessment

Before the 14 days are up, a certificate of final assessment is issued. If the patient isn't well enough for release, the responsible clinician must apply to the court for a Compulsory Treatment Order. This means the patient can be held and treated for another 14 days. If a court doesn't decide on the application before the end of the second 14-day period, the patient must be released.

Find out more about Compulsory Treatment Orders

Right to review during assessment

The patient can ask the Family Court to review their condition any time during the preliminary assessment and further assessment before the responsible clinician has applied for a Compulsory Treatment Order.

If the judge decides that the patient can be released from having to go through a mental health assessment the patient must be discharged immediately and that is the end of the assessment process.

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