Please ask any member of staff if you need help in understanding this statement.

If you find English difficult, ask for the assistance of an interpreter. Your family or a friend can help you also.


You are being detained in..............................................

which is an approved treatment centre under the Mental Health Act 1993

This centre is able to provide care and treatment for people with a mental illness. There will be some people who are in the centre of their own free will (they are called "voluntary patients") and others who, like you, have been ordered by a doctor or a psychiatrist to stay in the centre (they are called "detained patients"). The order is called a "detention order".


These can only be made by a doctor or a psychiatrist. (A psychiatrist is a doctor who has additional medical qualifications in treating people with a mental illness.) A detention order can be made in relation to a person who is already in the hospital as a voluntary patient, or in relation to someone whois living in the community. The maximum time you can be held under detention orders made by a doctor or psychiatrist is 45 days (in total).

The first detention order only lasts for three days, during which time (if possible within 24 hours of your admission) you will be examined and assessed by a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist must either confirm your detention order for the remainder of the three day period or allow you to leave. If a psychiatrist thinks your mental illness requires you to be kept in the centre for more treatment, the psychiatrist can order you to stay for a further 21 days. If near the end of this time two psychiatrists believe you still need more treatment in the centre, they may order you to stay for another 21 days.(At least one of these psychiatrists must not have been involved in making the earlier orders.) At the end of this time, you will either be allowed to leave and go home or, if you need more treatment, you may stay on as a voluntary patient or you may be required to remain in the treatment centre for a further period under an order of the Guardianship Board (called a "continuing detention order").If at any time the doctors think you are well enough to go home, a detention order can be cancelled by the director of the treatment centre or an admissions officer.


A doctor cannot make a detention order unless he or she has personally examined you, and he or she is satisfied-

(a) that you do have a mental illness that requires immediate treatment; and
(b) that the treatment is available in this approved treatment centre; and
(c) that you should be detained in the interests of your own health and safety, or for the protection of other persons.


While you are being detained in the treatment centre under a detention order, you cannot leave the centre of your own free will. (The director of the centre may give you leave of absence for a special purpose, and you will be required to return at the time specified by the director) Also, while you are detained in the centre you must accept any necessary medical and psychiatric treatment that is ordered for you by the doctors. (But, unless it is urgently required, electro-convulsive therapy (E.C.T.) cannot be given to you unless you consent to it. If you are not able to giveconsent, your parent or guardian can consent if you are under 16. If you are 16 or over, the Guardianship Board can consent.)


If you think that the doctors were wrong in making your detention order, or that they didn't follow the proper procedures, you may appeal to the Guardianship Board at any time while the order is in force. The Guardianship Board is an independent legal tribunal that is responsible for protecting your rights.

If you want to appeal, ask the nurse in charge of your ward for an appeal form, fill it in and send it to:

The Guardianship Board
PO Box 138
Tel. No. 8269 7515
Toll free No. (outside Adelaide) 1800 80 0501.

If you want to, you can give the completed form to the nurse in charge, who will make sure that it is sent on to the Guardianship Board immediately. Other interested persons (e.g. a close member of your family or a close friend) are also entitled to appeal against your detention order. The Public Advocate can also lodge an appeal against the order (for an explanation of the Public Advocate, see under the heading "PUBLIC ADVOCATE" further on in this statement).When the Guardianship Board receives your completed appeal form, the Board will arrange a hearing as quickly as possible. You will be sent a notice of the time and place of the hearing. You have the right to be present at the hearing and to tell the Board your own views.


You have the right to request that a lawyer help you with your appeal. You can use your own private lawyer, or one can be made available to you at no cost to you. (The appeal form asks you to say whether you want the help of such a lawyer). If you don't want a lawyer to be involved, you can ask the Public Advocate to represent you, or you can ask the Guardianship Board to allow a friend or family member to represent you at the hearing of the appeal. (You may also like to bring a relative or friend to support you during the hearing.)


The Public Advocate is an independent official whose job is to assist persons with a mental illness. The Public Advocate can advise you about your rights, can lodge an appeal against your detention order, or can represent you during the hearing of your appeal. The Public Advocate is located in the same building as the Guardianship Board,but is independent of the Board.

The address of the Public Advocate is:

P.O. Box 213,
Tel. No. 8269 7575
Toll free No. (outside Adelaide) 1800 06 6969.


Disclaimer: Note: The information described here relates solely to operational matters in the Emergency Department.  Every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of the content. However, neither the author or the hospital will take responsibility for errors resulting from its use.  Please refer to your own departmental guidelines and verify all clinical decisions with a reliable source.  

Date Last Reviewed: 05/08/2004