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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