12 October 2022 – Mental Health Reform, today, welcomes the publication of the pre-legislative scrutiny report on the draft Heads of Bill to amend the Mental Health Act and thanks the Committee for its important work. The report contains 19 recommendations from the Sub-Committee on Mental Health to inform the reform of the Mental Health Act, 2001.
Commenting on the report, Róísín Clarke, Interim CEO, Mental Health Reform said: “The publication of this report represents a key development in the reform of Ireland’s mental health law. The recommendations in the report will have a profound impact on mental health throughout society and for those who find themselves in need of inpatient mental health treatment and care.
There is an urgent need to reform the Mental Health Act, 2001 to protect the rights of children and adults receiving treatment and care in inpatient mental health facilities. Due to gaps in the legislation, the existing Act is significantly out of line with international human rights standards.
It has been 20 years since our last major change in mental health legislation. We must grasp this opportunity to make fundamental improvements to the Mental Health Act, 2001 to ensure the injustices of the past are not revisited.
We must adopt a rights-based approach to the treatment and care of those with mental health difficulties. This is particularly important for those who are involuntarily detained for mental health treatment.
The recommendations contained in this report will play a vital role in ensuring our mental health law protects people’s human rights and respects their will and preferences. This legislation must fundamentally be about people and we commend the Sub-Committee on Mental Health for their work and diligence in this important process.
Reform must be brought about with expediency and due process. We urge the Minister for Health to progress this piece of legislation in early 2023 and to work towards implementation without delay. People with mental health difficulties should not have to wait any longer for their rights to be protected.”
Report on the Pre-Legislative Scrutiny of the Draft Heads of Bill to Amend the Mental Health Act 2001
The Report on the Pre-Legislative Scrutiny of the Draft Heads of Bill to Amend the Mental Health Act 2001 is available here.
A Human Rights Analysis of the Draft Heads of a Bill to Amend the Mental Health Act 2001
A Human Rights Analysis of the Draft Heads of a Bill to Amend the Mental Health Act 2001 is available here.