Yaling had been detained under the Mental Health Act for 4 months. During her detention Yaling had been on leave from the hospital and had taken recreational drugs. When the hospital staff became aware of this they revoked her leave. Towards the end of Yaling’s detention, her mental health and her medication regime were stable. Yaling felt ready to leave the hospital but staff were not discussing discharge arrangements as her leave continued to be revoked due to drug use.

Yaling’s mental health advocate had been trained by the British Institute of Human Rights. The advocate spoke to Yaling about her right to autonomy (protected by Article 8 in the Human Rights Act) and to make decisions others might consider unwise, and about her right to liberty (protected by Article 5 in the Human Rights Act). Yaling spoke to the hospital staff about her rights and her concern that her detention under the MHA had become about preventing her taking recreational drugs rather than for treatment for her mental health issue. She also spoke to them about her right to liberty as she no longer fit the criteria for detention under the MHA. The hospital staff reviewed Yaling’s case and, taking into account her human rights, began making plans for discharge. Yaling was discharged a few days later.

Example from BIHR’s project Care and Support: A Human Rights Approach to Advocacy