Mental Health Act Assessment - Privacy Notice

What personal information is being processed and what for

The personal information we may collect in order to decide if a Mental Health Act Assessment is required includes

  • Name
  • Gender
  • NHS number
  • Date of Birth
  • Ethnicity
  • Disability
  • Any information we may need to take account of such as communication needs, religion, and past medical and mental health history
  • Information shared by any relevant professionals involved in your life such as G.P. care coordinator, social worker etc.

If a Mental Health Act assessment (including assessments or reviews if you are already subject to the Mental Health Act) is required, the Code specifies certain information that in all cases consideration should be given to:

  • Your wishes and views of your own needs
  • Your age and physical health
  • Your past wishes and feelings
  • Your cultural background
  • Your social and family circumstances
  • The impact that any future deterioration or lack of improvement in your condition would have on children, other relatives or carers, especially those living with you including an assessment of their ability and willingness to cope
  • The effect of the decision to admit or not to admit on those close to you.

This is the minimum information that the  AMHP will require to carry out an assessment under the Mental Health Act as the  AMHP must consider all the “circumstances of the case” that are relevant to you.

Why we are allowed to use your information

We will use the information provided to help us with the following:

  1. To determine whether or not an assessment under the Mental Health Act 1983 is required.
  2. To undertake an assessment of you under the Mental Health Act, once it has been determined that such an assessment should take place, and:

To help inform any assessments or reviews where you may already be subject to the Mental Health Act, such as Community Treatment Orders and Guardianship.

This Privacy Notice has been informed by the Mental Health Act Code of Practice and in particular Chapter 10 of the Code which covers Confidentiality and Information Sharing

What is a Mental Health Act Assessment?

The objective of an assessment under the Mental Health Act is defined in para 14.33 of the Code; and is to determine whether the criteria for detention are met and, if so, whether an application for detention to a psychiatric hospital should be made.

It will be noted that there are two steps involved in this process: determining whether the criteria for detention are met and secondly, if so, whether an application should be made. The AMHP is not obliged to make an application if the criteria for detention are met.

If you are being assessed under the Mental Health Act, we are required to consult with your Nearest Relative (different to next of kin). The nearest relative is determined by reference to s26 of the Mental Health Act.

The Code also emphasises the importance of involving other people in the decision-making process particularly your carers, family members and advocates who are able to offer a particular perspective on your circumstances. In so far as the urgency of the situation allows, AMHP s should consider consulting with other relatives, carers and friends and take their views into account. Para 14.68 qualifies this by stating that, in deciding to consult other people the  AMHP should consider your wishes, the nature of the relationship between you and the person in question, any history of hostility or abuse.

The Code states in para 10.1 the following:

Simply asking for information from carers, relatives friends or other people about a patient without that patient’s consent need not involve any breach of confidentiality providing the person requesting the information does not reveal any personal confidential information about the patient which the carer, relative, friend or other person being asked would not legitimately know.

Following assessment and/or review we may need to make referrals to other agencies such as other mental health teams, social care, Safeguarding, including referral for an assessment under the Mental Capacity Act (Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards) etc.

We will use the information provided to help us with the following:

  • Whether you require an assessment under the Mental Health Act
  • To enable a Mental Health Act assessment to be undertaken, once decided it is required
  • To help inform any assessments or reviews where you may already be subject to the Mental Health Act.

Legal basis for using your data

GDPR condition relied upon for processing personal data:

  • Article 6.1(e) - Exercise of official authority
  • Mental Health Act 1983.

GDPR condition relied upon for processing special category data

  • Article 9.2 (h) - Provision of health or social care

Who we will share your information with

Assessments under the Mental Health Act require two doctors to liaise and wherever possible, jointly interview you. Assessments under the Act can also be supported by the police and ambulance service. Other colleagues who we may need to work with to assess your needs include other health professionals from secondary care such as CPN’s, care co-ordinators, your GP and Independent Mental Health Advocates. NB this list is not exhaustive.

If an assessment is being carried out as a request from your nearest relative and the  AMHP decides not to make an application to hospital, then under s13(4) the  AMHP must write to the nearest relative informing them of the reasons why. This letter can be written in broad terms so that there is no breach of confidentiality.

Where we get your information from

The information required to inform an assessment under the Mental Health Act will vary according to the circumstances of the case but will always include:

  • You
  • The two assessing doctors
  • Your nearest relative (unless there is evidence to support any concern in respect of hostility or abuse)

Depending on the circumstances of your situation, other people who could also inform the assessment include:

  • Any other relevant relatives/carers
  • Formal carers and support agencies
  • GP and primary care
  • Secondary care services
  • Neighbours if necessary
  • Police and probation services
  • Ambulance services
  • Any other person whom the  AMHP considers has information relevant to your circumstances

How long we will keep your personal information

Your records will be only be held as long as necessary and in line with the Council’s retention guidelines which can be found in our Information Asset Register.

How your information is stored

 The information will be kept on the Council’s adult social care electronic service user system, called Liquid Logic. The system is only used by those members of staff who need it and access is strictly controlled by two factor authentication.

What happens if you don’t provide us with your information

 An assessment under the Mental Health Act will still need to be completed if you meet the criteria under the Act for the assessment. An AMHP can apply for a warrant under S135 of the Act to force entry into your property if the  AMHP believes that you are suffering from a mental disorder and not able to care for yourself

Will your information be used to make automated decisions


Your rights

You have a number of rights regarding your personal data, including withdrawing your consent where we have asked for it.  You can also ask for a copy of the information we hold about you and ask us to correct anything that is wrong. For detailed information about your rights please see our privacy notice at

Page last reviewed: 20 October 2021