An Introduction to Section 117 Aftercare
This is the first in a series of articles, explaining the help and support you can receive from section 117 aftercare. This first article will offer a brief overview of section 117 aftercare.
Section 117 aftercare refers to the care and support you will be legally entitled to upon discharge, after you have been detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 (as amended). Aftercare must be provided on your discharge from hospital if you have been:
- Detained under section 3 for treatment
- Transferred from prison to hospital under section 47 or section 48
- Ordered by the court to be detained in hospital under section 37 or section 45A
You will not be entitled to free aftercare if you have been detained under section 2, 4, 5 or 38 of the Mental Health Act 1983. Essentially, if you have been detained for treatment you will usually be entitled to s117 aftercare.
Before leaving hospital, a meeting should be arranged with your Responsible Clinician, Care Coordinator and/or Social Worker to discuss what type of support you feel you will need in the community. Your Responsible Clinician, Care Coordinator and/or Social Worker should also discuss what sort of care they feel you need, in order to ensure that you are fully supported when leaving the hospital. Having considered this, your team will prepare a ‘care plan’ for you, outlining the care which will be available to you, and how you ought to engage with it. This plan is put in place in order to ensure that all of your needs relating to your mental health are met, so that further hospital admissions can be avoided. Aftercare may include:
- Free prescriptions
- Assistance in your home or the local community, for example assistance with taking your medication and attending your appointments
- Specialist treatment such as psychology or psychiatry sessions
- Access to therapeutic and vocational courses
- Accommodation suited to your needs
- Supported employment
Section 117 aftercare is a duty that is imposed on the relevant Local Authority and Social Services, not on you. It does mean however, that even if you do not want aftercare the Local Authority and Social Services may still consider it appropriate and ask that you engage.
The next article in this series will explain who is responsible to pay for your aftercare.
If you require any further information on this topic, or with any aspect of your mental health matters, please contact our team on 020 8492 2290.