What are the critical incidents that affect how people cope with being detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act (1983, 2007)?

Thomas Goodall, Elizabeth Newton, Michael Larkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose: Section 136 (S136) of the Mental Health Act (1983, 2007) provides legislative powers for police officers to detain those suspected of being ‘mentally disordered’ for a mental health assessment. Despite its increasing use, there is currently little qualitative research exploring detainee’s experiences.

Methodology: Participants recruited from NHS places of safety participated in a semi-structured interview. The novel application of Critical Incident Technique (CIT) within this study enabled the specific identification of critical incidents which mental health service users thought had either helped with, or worsened the S136 detention experience. A wish list of absent factors was also gathered.

Findings: Six categories of helpful critical incidents, seven categories of unhelpful critical incidents and five categories of wish-list items were identified. The importance of authentic relationships underpinned many categories, as well as challenging stigma, considering previous detentions; and receiving practical support.

Originality/value: The outlined study is the first of its kind to utilise CIT methodology to specifically identify critical incidents related to the process of S136 detention. These findings provide specific ways to improve the experience of detention informed directly by those who have been directly subjected to S136.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)194-206
JournalInternational Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice
Volume23
Issue number3
Early online date8 Mar 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019

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