Your rights

Working out what your rights are can be tricky. In this section, we've made it as easy as possible for you to find relevant, clear and useful information.


The person seeing you should explain how any information you give them might be shared, and about your right to talk to someone on your own.


The person seeing you should check that you agree with the help they are suggesting and explain the possible choices if you do not agree.

Your needs

If you or your family need help from an interpreter or want information in a certain way, then the doctor or the person working with you should try and organise this


If you are not happy with the help you have received, all services should have complaints procedures. See our complaints page.

Advocacy support

An advocate is someone independent who can offer you support in speaking about what help you want. Under the Health and Social Care Act 2001, you have a right to an advocate if you want to make a complaint about your care from a mental health service.

Do my rights change if I have been sectioned?

When a young person is sectioned it means their behaviour or thoughts have shown signs of extreme distress and they might be at risk of hurting themselves or others.

This is carried out under the Mental Health Act and usually means the young person is legally bound to stay in a Child and Adolescent In-Patient Unit for a temporary period.

A section is designed to keep a young person who is experiencing serious mental distress safe.  This process involves an assessment of the young person’s mental health needs. Treatment depends on the outcome of the assessment.

For more detailed information on being sectioned please go to the Children First NHS site.

You cannot refuse treatment for a mental disorder if you have been sectioned. However, your consent should be sought beforehand. After 3 months of receiving medication without your consent, you have the right to a second opinion before it can be given to you without your consent again.

The Headspace Toolkit, a self-advocacy and rights pack for young people in adolescent psychiatric unit, explains about being an inpatient and how to appeal against being detained under the Mental Health Act, and gives 10 power tools to express your views, to help get things that you want changing changed. 

A note about the United Nations Convention

In 1989, world leaders signed The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a legally-binding international agreement setting out rights for everyone aged under 18.

If you're under 18, the UNCRC says you have the right to say what you think should happen when adults are making decisions that affect you and to have your opinions taken into account.

You have the right to get and to share information as long as the information is not damaging to yourself or others.

Find out more about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.