Tuesday, 26 January 2010
Dáil Eireann Debate
328. Deputy Seán Barrett asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to introduce legislation to deliver appropriate community-based mental health services; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3669/10]
329. Deputy Seán Barrett asked the Minister for Health and Children her plans to review the Mental Health Act 2001 with a view to updating it in line with the new United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [3670/10]
The Government has established an Interdepartmental Committee under the Chairmanship of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform in order to provide for ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Department of Health and Children is represented on the Committee. The Mental Health Act 2001 provides a modern framework for the admission and treatment of persons with a mental disorder. It provides important safeguards to people who are involuntarily admitted by ensuring that all admission and renewal orders are subject to automatic and independent review by a Mental Health Tribunal. The Act also established the Mental Health Commission which is responsible for promoting, encouraging and fostering the establishment of high standards and good practices in the delivery of mental health services and taking all reasonable steps to protect the interests of persons detained in approved centres. The Act is due to be reviewed in 2011 and the provisions of the UN Convention will be among the issues to be considered in that context. The review will also consider whether further provisions are required in relation to community-based mental health services.
Ireland has a comprehensive mental health policy framework in place which outlines a set of values and principles that will guide both Government and service providers as we proceed to develop and put in place a modern high- quality mental health service. This policy document ‘A Vision for Change’ proposes a holistic view of mental illness and recommends an integrated multidisciplinary approach to addressing the biological, psychological and social factors that contribute to mental health problems. It recommends a person centred treatment approach which addressed each of these elements through an integrated care plan, reflecting best practice, and most importantly evolved and agreed with both service users and their carers.
In January 2008, the Government established the Office for Disability and Mental Health as a cross-cutting Government Office with a remit across four Government Departments: Health and Children, Education and Science, Enterprise, Trade and Employment and Justice, Equality and Law Reform. The Office provides for greater cohesion across the public service and brings together responsibility for a range of different policy areas and State services. The Office was assigned four key priorities one of which is to bring a new impetus to the implementation of ‘A Vision for Change’ working in partnership with the HSE and other stakeholders including other Government Departments to achieve implementation of agreed targets. Bilateral meetings with officials from other Government Departments to discuss progressing recommendations in ‘A Vision for Change’ and ‘Reach Out’ the National Strategy for Action on Suicide Prevention take place within this context.
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