Mental Health Reform Welcomes Prioritisation of Mental Health Bill on Government Legislative Programme

Mental Health Reform, the national coalition for mental health, has today welcomed the inclusion of the Mental Health Bill in the Government’s Summer Legislative Programme. The Bill has been selected for priority publication and will be among the top legislative priorities for the Government in the coming months.

Fiona Coyle, CEO, Mental Health Reform commented: “We welcome the important step taken by the Government to prioritise Ireland’s new mental health law. There is an urgent need to reform the Mental Health Act, 2001 to protect the rights of people receiving in-patient mental health care. This decision represents a critical moment for the future of mental health services in Ireland.

For the past nine years, Mental Health Reform has advocated for the reform of the Mental Health Act, 2001. The current Act is significantly out of step with international human rights standards including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The reform of the Mental Health Act is a key step in the transition towards modern mental health care that protects people’s rights and respects their will and preferences. 

We would like to thank Minister Mary Butler for her tireless commitment to progressing the Mental Health Bill. Over the coming months, we look forward to working with the Minister, our members and people with lived experience to inform discussion on the new law. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for positive change in our mental health legislation.”


The Mental Health Bill will provide for, among other things:

  • An updated involuntary admission and detention process for people with severe mental health difficulties, including a revised set of criteria for detention, 
  • An overhauled approach to consent to treatment for involuntarily admitted people, 
  • An expansion of the Mental Health Commission’s regulatory function to include all community mental health residences and services, including all community CAMHS, 
  • Closer alignment with the principles of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Acts 2015 and 2022, 
  • Stronger safeguards for people accessing inpatient treatment, and 
  • A new, discrete Part of the Bill that deals exclusively with the care and treatment of children and young people, which includes provisions to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to consent to or refuse mental health treatment. 

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