MENTAL HEALTH AND THE LAW


INVOLUNTARY DETENTION

A person may be involuntarily admitted to an approved center .......... and detained there on the grounds that he or she is suffering from a mental disorder.......Section 8(1) Mental Health Act 2001.

For the purpose of the Mental Health Act 2001 "mental disorder" means mental illness, severe dementia or significant intellectual disability where

a) because of the illness, disability or dementia there is a serious likelihood of the person concerned causing immediate and serious harm to himself, herself or to other person

or

b)

i) because of the severity of the illness, disability or dementia, the judgment of the person concerned is so impaired that failure to admit the person to the approved center would be likely to lead to a serious deterioration in his or her condition or would prevent the administration of appropriate treatment that could be given only by such admission and

ii) the reception, detention and treatment of the person concerned in an approved center would be likely to benefit or alleviate the condition of the person to a material extent. Section 3 Mental Health Act 2001.

HOW IS A PERSON INVOLUNTARILY DETAINED

Where it is proposed to have a person involuntarily admitted to an approved center an application for a recommendation that the person be so admitted may be made to a registered medical practitioner by

(a) the spouse or a relative of the person

(b) an authorised officer

(c) a member of an garda siochana

(d) subject to exceptions, any other person.

Section 9 Mental Health Act 2001.

Where a registered medical practitioner is satisfied, following an examination of the person the subject of the application that the person is suffering from a mental disorder he or she shall make a recommendation.... that the person be involuntarily admitted to an approved center. Section 10 Mental Health Act 2001.

Where a recommendation in relation to a person the subject of an application is received by the clinical director of an approved center, a consultant psychiatrist on the staff of the approved center shall, as soon as may be, carry out an examination of the person and shall thereupon either

(a) if he or she is satisfied that the person is suffering from a mental disorder make ....... an admission order for the reception, detention and treatment of the person.....

or

(b) If he or she is not so satisfied, refuse to make such an order.

Section 14 Mental Health Act 2001.

DURATION OF AN ORDER

An admission order shall authorise the reception, detention and treatment of the patient concerned and shall remain in force for a period of 21 days.....

The period may be extended by a renewal order for a further period of 3 months.

Section 15 Mental Health Act 2001.

The Act also allows for further renewal periods of six months and twelve months. However, in May 2018 the court of Appeal ruled that the detention of a person involuntarily under renewal orders for 6 and 12 months is unconstitutional. The court placed a stay on the Order until November 2018 which allows the Oireachtas an opportunity to introduce corrective legislation.


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