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Admission to and discharge from psychiatric hospitals or nursing homes. - For family/caregivers

Can I request the admission of my relative if they are showing clear signs of mental illness? If they are unwilling to undergo treatment, what can I do?

If your relative is unwilling to undergo treatment for an apparent mental illness, then you need to approach the Magistrate at the closest District Court and apply for a reception order. When this order is granted, your relative will be admitted and detained in a psychiatric hospital or nursing home. (Section 19, 20, MH Act)

What is a reception order?

When a person suffering from mental illness refuses to be admitted for treatment in a mental health institution, the family (or the doctor, as the case may be) can apply to the Magistrate of the District Court for a reception order. When the Magistrate receives this application, he has to assess two things:

  • whether the person is suffering from a disorder of such a nature that it is necessary to detain them in a mental health institution for treatment.

  • whether it is necessary to detain and treat such a person in a mental health institution, keeping in mind their own safety, as well as the safety of others around them.

To determine this, the magistrate examines the person and their medical certificates. He can then choose to issue the order if it is needed. (Section 20, 22, MH Act)

I had my child admitted to a psychiatric hospital and now I wish to have them discharged. What is the procedure for this?

If you wish to have your child discharged, you need to make an application to the psychiatrist who admitted your child. If the psychiatrist is satisfied that your child has recovered, then they shall discharge your child (Section 18, MH Act). However, if your child has not recovered sufficiently, then the psychiatrist will recommend that your child be detained for further treatment.

My relative or friend has been detained at a psychiatric hospital under an order from a Magistrate. I now wish that they be returned to my care and custody. What is the procedure I need to follow?

You will have to make an application to the psychiatrist, who shall forward your application to the Magistrate along with their remarks. The Magistrate will then require you to furnish a bond of an amount they see fit and sign an undertaking to take proper care of the patient. You will also have to ensure that you will prevent the patient from causing injury to themselves and others. The Magistrate, if satisfied, will then make an order of discharge of the patient. (Section 42, MH Act)