Advocacy in the UK
The BDD Foundation can offer some advice on getting help, but we are (for the moment) a very small charity with limited resources.
At present, we recommend seeking help from OCD Action in the UK as BDD is related to OCD. The website has information on obtaining a referral for specialist help; employment rights; housing; and your rights under the Mental Health Act. You can also share your concern with others in an online forum on this website under the heading ‘ Advocacy’. Sometimes the issues you are seeking help with are common in the BDD community and others may have been in the same position.
Use of the Mental Health Act
The vast majority of people receiving treatment in psychiatric wards have agreed to come into hospital. They are called informal or voluntary patients. Some have been ‘sectioned’ (or ‘detained’) under the Mental Health Act 1983 in the UK. If you are in hospital as a detained patient you will not be free to leave and will lose some other rights that are available to informal patients. Further details are available from Mind, the mental health charity. Similar legislation exists in other countries.
The Mental Health Act is not used lightly and mental health professionals will generally only turn to it as a last resort when they genuinely believe that the mental health of the patient is at significant risk e.g. from suicide, self-neglect or violence to others. It may also be used to assess a patient who has, for example, been housebound for many years and refused to seek help.