Minister Lynch publishes Interim Report on the Review of the Mental Health Act 2001

21 June 2012

Ms Kathleen Lynch T.D., Minister for Disability, Equality, Mental Health & Older People today (21 June 2012) published the Interim Report of the Steering Group on the Review of the Mental Health Act 2001. The Minister said that this review is a commitment in the Programme for Government and is one to which the Government attaches great importance.

In welcoming the completion of the Interim Report, the Minister said, “The 2001 Act, the key parts of which came into operation in 2006, was a major advance in how we legislated for those individuals who required detention in approved centres. That said, with the publication since 2001 of the Government policy on mental health, A Vision For Change, and the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, it is timely to have a comprehensive review of this important legislation.”

A Steering Group chaired by the Department was tasked with providing an Interim Report which would initially consult with service users, carers and other stakeholders and identify the key areas of the Act to be examined in the second and substantial phase of the review.

The Minister went on to say, “I fully endorse the recommendation of the Steering Group that a rights based approach to mental health law should be adopted. A move away from the paternalistic approach of the 2001 Act was a strong feature of the views expressed in the consultation process. It is important that each person should have a right to determine and participate as much as they possibly can in their own care and treatment. The imminent publication of the Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Bill 2012 will also be a significant improvement in this regard.

"The Interim Report also emphasises the need for revised mental health legislation to support the objectives of A Vision for Change especially in relation to the promotion of community based mental health services. I also welcome the various changes recommended which aim to improve procedures regarding the detention of individuals and the necessary safeguards proposed to ensure that they receive the maximum appropriate protection in this regard.

"The recommendation that provisions relating to children should be included in a standalone Part of the Act and that children should be given a greater say in their care and treatment are also to be welcomed.

"Having now received the Interim Report, it is my intention to put in place an Expert Group to carry out the second and substantive phase of the review. I would expect that this group can begin its work in the coming weeks and that it would conclude its deliberations in early 2013.”

Read the Report