Mental Health and the Law

3 December 2009

The most crucial issues facing people suffering from mental illness are their treatment and social functioning, according to Professor Terry Carney.

Professor Carney addressed a symposium organised by the Mental Health Commission on the 2001 Mental Health Act in Dublin, Ireland on 26th November 2009.

Professor Carney said studies showed people often had problems with their treatment which were not addressed and they felt they were not listened to.

He said according to the Department of Health description ofthe Mental Health Act, "people who are being admitted or to whom treatment is being administered must be given an opportunity to express their views and have those views taken into account as far as is practicable.

"When decisions are being made under the Act, due regard must be given to the need to respect a person's right to dignity, bodily integrity, privacy and autonomy.

He said said this system was working in Ireland "a hell of a lot better than in Australia". The requirement of a second opinion was very important, and in Ireland about one in 10 reviews by tribunals led to the person being discharged.

The figure for Australia and many other jurisdictions was in "low single digits", he said.

View the article in the Irish Times - Mental health expert addresses symposium

Contact: Greg Sherington

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