How to Get Admitted to a Mental Hospital in the UK (2024)

how to get admitted to a mental hospital uk

Don’t freak out!

You’re probably one of the thousands of people who need to read this article.

Struggling with mental health is not an easy way to live. However, admitting that you need professional help to heal is an excellent way to start your journey to full recovery.

Mental health services exist for all; young, old, male, or female.


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There are several centres offering special mental health care in the UK. You’ll find government-owned centres and privately-owned clinics. You’ll also find some registered under the National Health Service.

But before you grab your coat and hit the road, here are the things you must know about getting admitted into a mental hospital in the UK.

Table of Contents

How to Know If You Need to be Admitted to a Mental Hospital

First, you must understand the difference between what is normal and what is not. Only a professional can fully ascertain, but patterns in thoughts, feelings, and behaviours can help you figure out when you need help.

Some of the signs you need to go to a mental hospital include:

Withdrawal from others

Sometimes you just need to rest or observe some alone time to meditate. However, when you begin to disconnect from friends and family, you may have a lingering problem. This kind of withdrawal is often resulting from depression, bipolar disorder, substance abuse, or other conditions.

Excessive anxiety

Do you worry so much that yoga, exercise, and other means of combatting stress don’t work for you? It would be best if you saw a professional. We all worry, but if it doesn’t seem to ever go away after trying some strategies, that isn’t good.

Related: 10 Best Private Mental Health Hospitals in the UK

Constantly replaying traumatic experiences

how to get admitted to a mental hospital uk

If you once had a traumatic experience and can’t stop it from playing in your mind repeatedly, you need help. It may be a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Substance abuse

Are you addicted to a substance, maybe a drug or alcohol? Or do you constantly use them to get over your mental illness? If yes, you need mental health services.

Changes in sleeping or eating patterns

If you experience fluctuations in your sleeping or eating patterns, you need help. Do you have difficulty sleeping, not because of life changes like a job or relocation? It may be a symptom of depression or an eating disorder.

Choosing a Mental Health Provider

Several professionals in the UK may seem competent to treat your mental illness, as most of them have undergone a series of specialised training.

But you must be sure that they have a legal license and certification to operate.  

Some of them are psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counsellors, or mental health nurses. They operate in different settings and capacities, whether in private hospitals or with community agencies.

Here are some key things to look out for before choosing a mental health provider.

  • What is your concern or condition? You should focus on getting a mental health hospital with specialists in the area you have concerns about. If it’s a marital issue, get help from a centre that offers such speciality.
  • What’s your health insurance coverage? Know your benefit limits and opt for a hospital your insurance policy can cover.
  • Look out for the treatment approach and philosophy of the mental health service and ensure you’re comfortable with it.

People find suitable mental health services that can cater for their needs in diverse ways.

For example, you can ask your insurance company for a list of covered providers or seek a referral from your health caregiver. You may also ask friends and family members or search the internet for options.

Some people also choose to use their company’s employee assistance program or student health centre. You can also reach out to mental health organisations like Mind via phone call, email, or visiting them physically.

Related: Best Psychiatric Hospitals in the UK

How to Voluntarily Section Yourself in the UK

how to voluntarily section yourself uk

Voluntary admission is when you realise your need for mental health treatment and seek treatment under your free will. Community mental health teams often recommend this type of admission and care for you at home.


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However, if they cannot point out any improvement, they may recommend you visit the hospital for treatment.

Another type of admission is the detained patient’s admission, where people suffering from mental health illness are forced into a hospital because they pose a threat to themselves or other people.

It is also known as sectioning. In this type of admission, the individual will be locked in and cannot be discharged at will.

Take any of the following actions if you wish to voluntarily section yourself in the UK.

  • Contact your General Practitioner (GP) for a referral
  • Visit any A&E department of your local hospital
  • Talk to a community mental health team or local crisis team

This process should help hasten your choice of mental health service centre. Book an appointment for assessment and diagnosis. At this stage, you will be with people who have different conditions.

After the assessment, they will move you into a specialised ward for your mental health illness with people who have similar challenges.

Treatment plans may include individual and group therapy. The specialist knows what is best for you.

Mental Hospital Admission Tips You Should Know

  • Go with a relative or close friend familiar with your situation to be your advocate on the first day. The person will be able to help you through the paper works and motivate you.
  • Understand that the staff at the mental health clinic are just there to help you. On this note, try to be patient because it is a process with crucial steps.
  • Be honest with the doctor, cooperate with all the staff, and be polite. This attitude helps you earn more points.
  • Don’t feel scared. You will be in a secured unit and only get some time out of the unit for visits and short excursions.
  • Harmful or potentially dangerous objects like a razors, belts, and nail clippers will be taken out of your belongings.
  • Other patients are fighting similar battles, so don’t mind their behaviours.
  • Make friends with other patients but don’t expect them to respect you since no one is perfect, and they can’t respect you if they don’t respect themselves.
  • Participate in recreational activities to relieve your stress and free your mind.
  • Create time and space for yourself. It will help you get better.
  • Read and understand your rights.

Related: 10 Best Teenage Psychiatric Hospitals in the UK

What are Your Rights as a Patient?

Voluntary admission and detention have different criteria and rules.

For example, when you check-in or get admitted voluntarily, you have the right to back out whenever you want. But if the hospital staff believe you’re dangerous to yourself and other people, you’ll have a different rule.

After you make a formal discharge request, the hospital has only two to seven days to process your release, depending on the laws in that particular location.

The Mental Health Act 1983 fully states all your rights as a mental health patient. Here are some of the most important ones while you’re still at the hospital.

  • Confidentialitymeans that no one apart from the insurance company has the right to know about your hospitalisation
  • Be fully informed about all treatments and tests as well as benefits and risks
  • Refuse to take any tests or treatment if you feel unsafe
  • Refuse to participate in experimental treatments that involve students or observers

What Happens After You are Discharged?

signs you need to go to a mental hospital

A discharge doesn’t mean that treatments will end.

Sometimes, doctors recommend a day treatment for patients, which provides the same benefits enjoyed in hospitalisation. It may include services like psychotherapy, but you return home at night or at weekends.

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So, when the hospital discharges you, consult your doctor and confirm your discharge plan.

You may seek help from family and trusted friends who can help you through your discharge plan. Also, there are steps that can help you continue your recovery. They are;

  • Ensure that you keep all doctor appointments
  • Be religious with your medications and take them as prescribed
  • Register with a support group and make friends with people with similar conditions
  • Eat well, exercise, and have plenty of sleep
  • Learn techniques that will help you reduce stress
  • Understand that it’s a work-in-progress, so don’t be too hard on yourself

All these steps don’t only help with continuity but also speed up your recovery process.

Final Thoughts

Your admission experience is sure to be a memorable adventure. Although the hospital might seem unfamiliar, it is a great place to finally find a lasting solution to your mental illness. On this note, you should embark on this recovery journey with a mind of hope and patience.

Your condition started as a process; hence, it will all go away in the same fashion.

As you recover, keep track of the whole process and document them as a crisis action plan. Compile information like your doctor’s name and contact, trusted friends, family or support group members, list of medications, allergies, insurance information, and so on.

This directive will be very useful if you ever need to be hospitalised again.

Compare Hospitals in the UK

How to Get Admitted to a Mental Hospital in the UK (2024)

Remz is a professional who has been writing content for almost 10 years. He's a shipping and logistics enthusiast and the head of the Trust Heritage Logistics content team. He bagged an MSc degree shortly after graduating from the university with flying colours. When it comes to creating content, Remz loves to do in-depth research and provide amazing pieces of information that every reader will find helpful.

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