, Volume 179, Issue 2, pp 291-294
Date: 31 Mar 2009

National survey of psychiatrists’ responses to implementation of the Mental Health Act 2001 in Ireland

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Ireland’s Mental Health Act 2001 resulted in substantial changes to mental health services and the process of involuntary admission.


To determine the views of Irish psychiatrists regarding the new legislation, 1 year after full implementation.


We sent questionnaires to all 735 members of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Ireland.


The response rate was 43.7%. As much as 84% of respondents reported satisfaction with training; 69.1% reported increased workloads; 26.8% reported decreased time with service-users; 40.7% reported changes in relationships with service-users (e.g. increased empathy, but more legalistic, conflicted relationships). Almost one in three (27.4%) stated that it was not feasible to implement the Mental Health Act. Negative comments highlighted the adversarial nature of mental health tribunals, effects on therapeutic relationships and issues related to children.


The implementation of the Mental Health Act 2001 has resulted in increased workloads, more conflicted relationships with service-users and adversarial mental health tribunals.