Mental Health Commission’s Report Exposes Failings in Ireland’s Mental Health Service

On 01st July, 2021 Mental Health Reform reacted with concern to Mental Health Commission’s 2020 Annual Report.

Commenting on the report, our CEO Fiona Coyle said, “The Mental Health Commission’s annual report highlights an urgent need to reform and improve investment in the delivery of mental health services in Ireland. Behind every number in this report is a person whose rights and dignity are not being fully respected. Each and every individual who uses mental health services deserves appropriate care and support which promotes their rights to autonomy, respect and self-determination.

In many places, the findings from the report are alarming, including the increase in seclusion in mental health centres. This is a practice that can have harmful physical and psychological effects. Our national mental health policy, Sharing the Vision recommends a zero restraint, zero seclusion action plan.

The report highlights once more the need to reform our Mental Health Act to ensure that people have their rights adequately protected if and when they access mental health services. Access to modern, recovery-focused and human rights-based services is a fundamental right for everyone in Ireland. While we welcome the Government’s commitment to reform the Mental Health Act, 2001, the bill must be progressed as matter of urgency.

It is disconcerting that the highest number of applications for involuntary detention came from An Garda Síochána. Findings show an increase in applications from An Garda Síochána and a decrease in applications from authorised officers for the second consecutive year. We are calling for the reform of our mental health legislation where authorised officers should be the person to sign all applications for involuntary admission to an approved centre. This is in line with the recommendations of the Expert Group on the Review of the Mental Health Act, 2001.

Overall, the findings point towards a lack of focus towards recovery-centred care. Individualised, person-centred, recovery-orientated plans are a basic requirement of a good quality mental health service. If services are to be effective in supporting a person’s recovery, we must work in partnership with individuals who use mental health services and their family, friends, supporters and carers.”


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