involuntary placement & mental health care

In certain situations you may be involuntarily placed in a mental health care institution. However, this has to be done lawfully and must respect your human rights.

Placement in a mental health care institution should be voluntary and based on your informed consent. Informed consent means that doctors have provided information on your illness to you and you have agreed to the necessary treatment. 

Nonetheless, you may be placed in mental health care institution if you have a mental disorder or disability that requires such placement. In these cases, you will be placed in a mental health care institution involuntarily.

Types of involuntary placements

Estonian law permits involuntary placements only in the following cases:

  • when it is necessary for your own, or for society’s safety, or when you can no longer take care of yourself
  • when the Court has declared that you have committed a criminal offence while mentally incapacitated or with diminished mental capacity, or developed mental incapacity after the conviction, and that placement in a mental health care institution is necessary
  • when the Court has ordered that you need a psychiatric assessment in criminal proceedings
  • when placement in a mental health care institution is necessary as a security measure whilst you are involved in criminal proceedings for being placed in a mental health care institution due to mental incapacity or diminished capacity

Involuntary placement & Human rights

Human rights prohibit unlawful and arbitrary placement in mental health care institutions. Therefore, the authorities need to have a good reason to restrict your freedom, they need to follow clearly set procedures and they must not treat you disrespectfully. During involuntary placement processes such human rights as the right to liberty and security, the right to a fair trial, the right to life, prohibition of inhumane or degrading treatment or torture and the right to private life might be affected.

About this Guide

This Guide will explain when you may be placed in a mental health care institution, what information should be given to you, what procedure should be followed and how you should be treated. 

Read more about the types of involuntary placement:

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