The Mental Health Act 2001 sets out the care and treatment of people with mental health difficulties who need mental health inpatient care, with particular focus on procedures for involuntary detention. An Expert Group to review the operation of the Act published a report (which included a public consultation) with 165 recommendations in 2015. A July 2015 Government decision called for a general scheme of a bill to be drafted to amend the Mental Health Act.
The Department of Health has been leading on the review of the Mental Health Act. The Department has considered in depth the 165 recommendations of the 2015 report, recent Private Members legislation such as the Mental Health (Amendment) Act 2018, among many others, the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 and the 2018 ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in the context of revising the Mental Health Act.
In July 2019, the Department sent an initial draft of a general scheme to the Mental Health Commission for their expert opinion. The Commission provided a detailed submission to the Department in March 2020. Following a redrafting of the general scheme, the Department sought the advice of the HSE, as the main provider of mental health services in the State, in August 2020. The HSE returned its final submission in late February 2021.
The Department would now like to invite members of the public and key stakeholders to put forward submissions on the review of the Mental Health Act in the section on details of consultation below. Thus far, the general scheme has been informed by the recommendations of the 2015 report and its public consultation, in addition to ongoing engagement with the Mental Health Commission and the HSE. The Department recognises the importance of public consultation and is taking the opportunity to invite more submissions from the public and key stakeholders for consideration on the general scheme, prior to its finalisation and publication in the coming months.
The review of the Mental Health Act is primarily concerned with revising existing provisions in the Act and updating and adding provisions in the context of the recommendations of the 2015 report. While recognising the importance of mental health concerns generally, for example structural issues such as funding and staffing, the Department is specifically seeking submissions within the scope of the Mental Health Act. This includes the process and procedures of involuntary detention, the care and treatment of all individuals in approved centres, and the regulation and registration of mental health services. Submissions related to the headings set out in the section on details of consultation below, or any topic raised in the 2015 Expert Group report are welcome. Submissions outside the scope of the review of the Mental Health Act cannot be addressed in this consultation.
Before making any submission please review the privacy information below, including information on the publication of submissions. If after reading this you wish to make a submission, a submission may be made in the following ways:
posting your submission to ‘Mental Health Act review’, Mental Health Unit, 50 – 58, Block 1, Miesian Plaza, Baggot Street Lower, Dublin 2, D02 XW14
The deadline for submissions is 31 March 2021, however, we will accept submissions that we receive as soon after that date as possible, with 9 April 2021 the latest date we can accept submissions. Contact us at email@example.com
Details of consultation
The guidance document outlines in greater detail the headings under which the Department is seeking submissions. These headings are:
Changes to definitions in the Act
Inclusion of guiding principles
Changes to the criteria for detention
Enhanced role for Authorised Officers
Interdisciplinary approach to care and treatment
Changes to time limits
Enhancing safeguards for individuals (including seclusion and restraint)
Mental health tribunals
Change of status from voluntary to involuntary
Capacity and advance healthcare directives
Consent to treatment
Information and individual care/recovery planning
Inspection, regulation and registration of mental health services
Provisions related to children
Provisions related to the Mental Health Commission
The department respectfully asks that the word limit not exceed 300 words per heading.
Guidance document for Mental Health Act public consultation March 2021
The Department will review every submission received following the deadline. These submissions will help inform the final version of the general scheme of the bill. Furthermore, the Department expects to publish submissions and to prepare and publish a report outlining the main themes in the submissions on its website and on www.gov.ie
The Department expects to finalise and submit the general scheme of the bill to Government for approval in Q2 2021. This will follow the public consultation, that will run in parallel with a legal review of the general scheme. The general scheme will be published following Cabinet approval, and the Department will then work with the Attorney General’s Office to prepare the bill for introduction to the Oireachtas.
Any personal information, which you volunteer to this Department, will be treated with the highest standards of security and confidentiality, strictly in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/67 and the Data Protection Act 2018. However, please note the following:
The Department expects to publish submissions and a report outlining the key themes arising from the public consultation. The Department may include a full list of those who make submissions in an appendix to any report. Any personal and identifying information will be redacted prior to publication.
As information received by the Department is subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2014, such information may be considered for possible release under that Act. The Department will consult with you regarding such information before making a decision should it be required to disclose it. Any personal information would be redacted prior to release.
The information provided in the submissions may be shared with relevant Government Departments and State organisations during the review process. Any personal and identifying information will be redacted prior to sharing.
By providing a submission to the Department, you are consenting to your data being processed by the Department. Your data will only be used in the context of the review of the Mental Health Act, and for no other purpose. If, at any time, you wish to withdraw your submission please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Submissions will be retained until the review process, including the implementation of any accepted recommendations, has been concluded.
The Department recognises that the public consultation process may be difficult for some people, and would like to direct anyone in need of support to the following services:
YourMentalHealth information line – Freephone: 1800 111 888
Samaritans – Freephone: 116 123
Pieta House – Freephone: 1800 247 247
Crisis textline - 50808
For face-to-face support contact your GP, or for urgent help call 999 or 112 and ask for the ambulance service if you or someone you know needs emergency help.