Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
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Three step process for involuntary detention

The process of involuntary detention under the Mental Health Act is a three-step process

If an individual is suffering from a mental disorder, they may go into a psychiatric hospital or unit voluntarily, or they may be committed as an involuntary patient, Mental Health Minister Jim Daly has told the Dail.

The process of involuntary detention under the Mental Health Act is a three-step process. The first step requires an applicant (relative, An Garda Síochána, designated officer of the Health Services Executive, or any other person who has concerns about the mental health and welfare of the individual in the community) to make an application.

The second step is for the patient to be reviewed by a General Practitioner. In the event that the General Practitioner is of the view that the person is suffering from a mental disorder and would benefit from a period of treatment in hospital, or if there is a risk of harm by that person to themselves or others, the General Practitioner would complete the second step.

The third step is whereby the consultant psychiatrist on duty in the psychiatric unit reviews the patient. If the psychiatrist, following an assessment agrees that clinically the person requires an in-patient admission under the Act they complete the third step. At this point a person is detained under the Act. The Mental Health Commission website contains a  summary entitled “Your Guide to the Mental Health Act, 2001” which may act as a reference guide.


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Timeframe for statutory registration


Draft regulations to designate the professions of Counsellors and Psychotherapists and to establish a registration board will be ready for submission to the Houses of the Oireachtas for their approval during the present session, the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, has told the Dail.


The Minister recently concluded a public consultation on  his proposal to regulate counsellors generally under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005.


On foot of the consultation process, He has decided to proceed with the designation of two distinct professions under the Act, that of counsellor and psychotherapist. Each will have its own register under one registration board. This decision has been communicated to the Health and Social Care Professionals Council, the relevant professional bodies and all the respondents to the public consultation process.


Subject to the approval of the Houses, the next step will be the appointment of the 13 members of the registration board, following the submission of suitable candidates for the Minister's consideration, by the Public Appointments Service. The aim is that the registration board will be in a position early in the New Year to begin the task of drafting the various bye-laws to allow it to establish its registers.



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