Can a doctor keep someone in the hospital for psychiatric assessment against their will?

Question: 
Can a doctor keep someone in the hospital for psychiatric assessment against their will?
Answer: 

Yes. By signing a Form 1, a doctor can have someone sent to a psychiatric hospital where they can be held for up to 72 hours for an assessment. A doctor can sign a Form 1 if he or she:

  • has examined you in the past 7 days, and
  • believes that you need to be in the hospital for a psychiatric assessment because of the reasons listed in the Mental Health Act.

If you are not already at a psychiatric hospital, the Form 1 gives anyone the right to take you there. For example, the police or your family could take you.

A doctor at the psychiatric hospital will assess you. After the assessment, one of the following things will happen:

  • the doctor can let you leave the hospital,
  • the doctor can let you stay in the hospital voluntarily, which means that you can choose to stay or to leave, or
  • the doctor can put you on a Form 3 before the Form 1 runs out. This makes you an "involuntary patient" and you will have to stay in the hospital

The resource below explains more about the Form 1, what can happen after the assessment, what the person can do if they want to get out of the hospital, and who makes decisions about treatment.

Was this helpful?

Was this helpful?

Leaving your email address is optional but please do so if you hope to hear back from us.

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.