Mental Health Act 1983 and guardianship

The Mental Health Act (MHA) is designed to protect the rights of people in England and Wales who are assessed as having a 'mental disorder'. This is a general term used in the act to describe any disorder or disability of the mind, including dementia. The act does not apply in Northern Ireland, where the equivalent legislation is based on the Mental Health (Northern Ireland) Order 1986.

The person with dementia and their nearest relative must be informed of their rights and what is happening in relation to the Mental Health Act.

For more details on the implications for people with dementia and their carers see factsheet 459, The Mental Health Act 1983 and guardianship