My friend was sectioned (= committed) some years ago by two social workers and a psychologist. He now believes it was unjust and wants to "clear his name".

I have advised him to drop it because it will be his word against a psychologist's report, but he thinks he has to try. He is a homeless chap. He has no money, and although he speaks well, most people treat him poorly.

I think he has no chance. Am I correct in this assumption, or is there some route?

  • 1
    For those of us who don't speak British: what does it mean to be "sectioned?"
    – feetwet
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 19:44
  • @feetwet - Being ‘sectioned’ is the term that is often used when someone is detained under the Mental Health Act. The Mental Health Act is the law which can allow someone to be admitted, detained (or kept) and treated in hospital against their wishes. - source Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 20:44
  • Ah ha, "committed" as we say in the U.S. So is there some registry over there of people who have been sectioned, or other means by which his name is "tarnished" until/unless the "sectioning" was deemed invalid? Or is this just somebody looking for compensation from someone he believed harmed him?
    – feetwet
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 20:49
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    Just for reference for anyone else unfamiliar: "Sectioned" comes from the "Section" of the Mental Health Act the person was detained under (ie Section 2, 3, 4 or 5)
    – Jon Story
    Commented Sep 1, 2015 at 12:55
  • Was he detained for <3 days, or longer (weeks or months)? @feetwet: of course there isn't, the UK has medical privacy. So there's no concept of "clearing his name", in the sense that the general public can never find out. Unless there was some legal circumstance or he was forcibly put on medication, the OP's friend should just get on with life.
    – smci
    Commented Aug 5, 2021 at 22:37

1 Answer 1


You would need to prove that clinical mistakes were made. Since your friend's mental state has now changed and it is likely impossible for another psychologist to determine what it was at the time he was sectioned, that seems extremely difficult to do. Unless there is some evidence, such as an evaluation made at the time by another psychologist or evidence that the psychologist and/or social workers lied or make mistakes, I don't think your friend has much chance.

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