Depression, EUPD, General Humour, Hospital, Mental Health

What IS The Difference Between Being “Informal” and Being Sectioned?

Apart from a shitload of paperwork, not a lot…

If you ever find yourself unfortunate (or lucky) enough to be admitted to a mental ward, be sure to try and understand the basis under which this has been done.

There are several ways to get admitted –

  • Do something “insane”
  • SAY something “insane”
  • Admit to thinking something “insane”
  • Tell someone you’re “insane”
  • Ask/demand to be admitted

If/when you’re admitted it will be under one of two premises. Either informal or under a Section.

The reason for this piece’s title is that on all three of my stays on mental wards I was “informal”. Here’s a transcript of the conversation I had with my Primary Nurse (PN) upon my last visit as I was aware of the differences.

Me: So am I informal or am I being sectioned?

PN: You’re here voluntarily so you’re informal.

Me: Brilliant. So I can leave (the building) anytime I want?

PN: Absolutely, but we’d prefer that you didn’t.

Me: Fair enough, but it’s alright if I pop out for a quick fag? I’m gasping.

PN: No, if you try to leave we’ll have to bring you back and section you.

Me: But you just said I was informal and can leave any time I want!?!

PN: That’s right. You can go anytime but if you do try to leave we’ll have you brought back and placed under section.

Me: Nuh Huh.

PN: We can give/offer nicotine replacement products (Inhaler, spray, gum etc.) but they have to be prescribed first.

Me: OK. When can I see the doctor?

PN: I’ll check. (Looks at papers) – Monday on Ward Round.

Me: It’s fucking Tuesday!! (Makes break for door – it’s locked – bounces off…)

PN: Don’t worry – you’re “informal”………..


One thought on “What IS The Difference Between Being “Informal” and Being Sectioned?

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