Admission to a mental health institution

What you should do
How long does it take
How much does it cost
Forms to complete
Who to contact



About admission into a mental health institution by consent

If you have a mental condition, you may be admitted into a public mental health institution.There are many different mental health problems with different symptoms. Some are more serious than others in the way they affect the individual, family and community.

The causes of mental health problems differ, but generally they are a combination of biological, psychological and social reasons.

Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obssessive compulsive Disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. the positive news about mental illnesses is that recovery is possible through proper clinical attention.

Only a spouse, next of kin, partner, associate, parent or guardian of a mental healthcare user may make an application, but where the:

  • user is below the age of 18 years on the date of the application, the application must be made by the parent or guardian of the user
  • spouse, next of kin, partner, associate, parent or guardian of the user is unwilling, incapable or not available to make such an application, the application may be made by a healthcare provider.

What you should do

  • Go to a doctor or a clinical psychiatrist.
  • The doctor will:
    • assess and examine you
    • give you a referral letter.
  • Apply for admission at a mental institution,
  • Submit:
    • a referral letter
    • your written consent.
    • copy of your identity document (ID).

Note: If your mental condition is regarded as a threat to society, a court can order you to be commited to a mental institution with or without your consent.

How long does it take

You may be admitted as soon as a bed is available.

How much does it cost

The cost for the service depends on two conditions. Where a patient is admitted involuntarily, that is, the person is so sick that they need medical attention without their consent, the service is free.

Were a patient voluntarily consents and request the service, they are liable for payment in terms of the Uniform Patient Fees Schedule.

Forms to complete

Application forms are available from public or private clinic.

Who to contact

Mental Health Information Line - 0800 567 567