Dáil Debate on Mental Health Act (Amendment) (No.2) Bill Reflects Urgent Need for Reform.
Tuesday, 2nd May 2017
Mental Health Reform, the national coalition for mental health, has today expressed support for a Fianna Fáil bill to amend the Mental Health Act 2001, ahead of its debate in the Dáil this evening.
Speaking ahead of the debate scheduled on the Mental Health (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2017, Shari McDaid, Director, said “this Bill contains some significant changes that strengthen the rights of people when they are in hospital for mental health care.”
“The Bill will support the right of inpatients to make decisions about their own treatment by linking the Mental Health Act, 2001 with more recent law on decision-making capacity. It will clarify that only people who have decision-making capacity should be considered voluntary patients and affirm that everyone should be presumed to have capacity to make decisions. This includes providing people with the supports they need to be able to make decisions. People who receive inpatient treatment for a mental health difficulty want to be able to make decisions about their treatment and have those decisions respected,” continued Dr. McDaid.
Dr. McDaid continued, “There is an urgent need to amend Ireland’s mental health law which is out of line with international human rights law. Currently people who do not have the capacity to consent to admission and who do not object are considered voluntary patients; this means that patients may be detained in practice without external review of their status. The current Act also does not reflect principles such as the right to the highest attainable standard of mental health and the right to least restrictive care which are introduced by this Bill,” continued Dr. McDaid.
“Successive Governments have repeatedly failed to meet their own timetable for updating the Act. We need a definite timeframe for introduction of the Heads of Bill to make all the amendments recommended by the Expert Group on the Review of the Act so that people who need inpatient treatment can have the confidence that their rights will be fully respected,” concluded Dr. McDaid.
About Mental Health Reform
Mental Health Reform is the national coalition promoting improved mental health services and the social inclusion of people with mental health difficulties. The coalition currently has 57 member organisations. See www.mentalhealthreform.ie for more details. Mental Health Reform acknowledges the support of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government’s Scheme to Support National Organisations 2016-2019.
For more information please contact:
Communications and Campaigns Officer,
Mental Health Reform,
Tel: (086) 171 1920 / 01 874 9469.