Press Release

Full Commencement of the Mental Health Act 2001

Minister Tim O’Malley, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children with special responsibility for Mental Health, today (1 November, 2006) welcomed the full commencement of the Mental Health Act 2001.

“The full introduction of the provisions of the Mental Health Act 2001, which replaces the Mental Treatment Act 1945, is the most significant development in Mental Health services for over 60 years.”

“The full implementation of the Act will have a positive impact on the lives of a vulnerable group in our society and represents a major step forward in the development of our mental health services.”

The Mental Health Act 2001 significantly improves safeguards for persons who are involuntarily admitted for psychiatric care and treatment. The Act changes the procedure for involuntary admissions and provides for an automatic and independent review of their detention by a mental health tribunal. This brings Irish mental health legislation into line with the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

The Minister of State has also introduced regulations, which apply to all centres providing in-patient treatment for mental illness, following consultation with the Mental Health Commission. These regulations set out minimum standards for centres in relation to the care of residents and the provision of adequate and suitable accommodation. Compliance with these regulations will be monitored by the Inspector of Mental Health Services.

“I would like to thank all those involved in the preparations for the full implementation of the Act, the Health Service Executive, the Mental Health Commission, staff of the mental health services, service user representatives, other stakeholders and the staff of the Department for their efforts. I look forward to their continued support in improving our mental health services.”