Press Release

Minister of State Kathleen Lynch Seeks the Views of Service Users on the Review of the Mental Health Act 2001

Ms Kathleen Lynch, T.D., Minister for Disability, Equality, Mental Health and Older People, today, Wednesday, 7th September 2011, urged people, particularly those who have personal experience of our mental health services, whether as a service user themselves or as a family member of a service user, to write to her Department on the review of the Mental Health Act 2001 which is now underway.

Minister Lynch said, “The Mental Health Act 2001 is the key legislation in this country regarding the involuntary admission of people deemed to be suffering from a mental disorder. This important legislation is now being reviewed by a steering group chaired by my Department and I am anxious to hear from all with an interest in our mental health services as to how they feel the Act has operated to date and how it might be improved in the future.

“We have come a long way from the scenes we saw in Monday night’s RTE documentary ‘Behind the Walls’ in terms of involuntary admissions and the protections now in place to ensure that the rights of individuals are protected and to allow their voices to be heard. The 2001 Act has served us well in this regard. But this Government believes the time is right to fundamentally review the Act and to amend it where necessary “informed by human rights standards and in consultation with service users, carers and other stakeholders.

“An advertisement has been placed in the national media seeking the views of interested parties. Further information on the review is also available on my Department’s website.

“I would urge those who feel they have a contribution to make on this important debate, to do so over the coming month.”