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

Bulgarian law permits four three of involuntary placements:

  1. when it is necessary for your own, or for society’s safety and the Court decides that there is a risk for you to commit a crime 
  2. 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
  3. when the Court has ordered that you need a psychiatric assessment in criminal proceedings

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.

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education