New Mental Health Bill due in summer

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Minister for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler has requested priority publication for the new Mental Health Bill in the upcoming summer legislative session.

This  Bill, which will replace, reform and overhaul the Mental Health Act 2001, is expected to contain in excess of 140 sections.

Said the Minister, The forthcoming new Mental Health Bill is a complex and lengthy piece of legislation. It will introduce, for the first time, a robust system of registration, regulation, and inspection of all mental health services, including all community CAMHS.”

She also welcomed the establishment of the Mental Health Commission’s working group to advise on the development of standards for community mental health services. “The work of this new Group, in helping to develop standards for community mental health services, will help set out the best practice that all services should aspire to reach. It will also complement the legal framework to regulate community mental health services being provided by the forthcoming Mental Health Bill,” she said.

“In addition to the regulation of all community services, the new Mental Health Bill will update the involuntary admission process, modernise provisions related to consent to treatment, provide enhanced safeguards for people accessing inpatient treatment, and provide a new, discrete Part that relates exclusively to the care and treatment of children and young people. The new Bill will overhaul our mental health legislation making it more person-centred and human rights focused and help to put in place a more robust framework in which our mental health services can be delivered.”

At present, the Mental Health Commission’s regulatory remit under the 2001 Act encompasses 65 approved centres providing inpatient treatment to persons with a mental illness. Under the proposed new Mental Health Bill,  that remit is expected to significantly expand to include the regulation of community mental health services, including CAMHS. This includes both residential and non-residential mental health services.

In advance of the expansion of the Mental Health Commission’s remit as proposed in the new Mental Health Bill, the Commission is progressing with the development of standards for community mental health services. It is envisioned that the new standards will initially focus on all community mental health residences - high/medium/low support settings and Rehabilitation and Recovery Teams (RRTs).