Mental Health Reform, the national coalition on mental health, has welcomed (08/12/2015) the passage in the Dáil this evening of a long awaited amending Mental Health Bill which has deleted the word ‘unwilling” from the Mental Health Act 2001.
This deletion will end the legal basis for administering ECT and, and beyond three months, medication, against a capable person’s will. The coalition now seeks a clear timeline on the wider revision of the Mental Health Act, to reflect the recommendations of the Expert Group.
Shari McDaid, Director of Mental Health Reform, said: “Mental Health Reform continues to have grave concerns about the lack of adequate human rights protection under the Mental Health Act for voluntary and involuntary patients, as well as those who are detained but lack capacity to make decisions.”
Dr McDaid continued: “Despite the Expert Group’s recommendation on the need for advance directives in revised mental health legislation, there appears to be an acceptance by the Expert Group that when capacity legislation is passed it will not apply to people involuntarily detained. Mental Health Reform is seeking a clear commitment from Government that people with mental health difficulties who are involuntarily detained will be afforded the protections of legally binding advance directives as a matter of priority”.
“We are also concerned about the continuing lack of an independent complaints mechanism and were disappointed that the Expert Group did not recommend an independent route for making a complaint about mental health services. This is an issue that has been raised to Mental Health Reform time and time again; people have told us they are afraid to make a complaint for fear of consequences to their future use of services. We reiterate our call for an independent complaints mechanism for mental health services,” Dr McDaid concluded.