To reflect upon the experience of service users who have been formally detained is clearly important for any approved mental health practitioner; ultimately the final responsibility for such an outcome rests with them. In the light of increased numbers of detained patients, such reflection continues to be paramount. This chapter draws on the evidence collected in a participatory research study undertaken in the wake of the implementation of the Mental Health Act in Scotland; an Act which heralded high expectations among all stakeholders, including service users. The research reveals the experience of detention as a non-linear journey and is vividly illustrated with the use of direct quotes. These we suggest are essential reading for any practitioner providing a powerful insight into the process and reality of detention from the most important perspective, that of the affected person. In particular the feeling of powerlessness, lack of understanding about what was happening and loss of control are fundamental considerations. Building on the questions raised in preceding chapters it is clear that approved mental health practitioners do not have easy decisions to make. Of particular relevance to the reader will be the views expressed about approved mental health practitioners not least because the evidence mirrors the debates to which this book continually returns namely what is the role of the approved mental health practitioner? This chapter rightly urges the need to guard against complacency.
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