Overview of mental health and mental illness

If you have a mental illness, your entitlement to care and treatment is the same as if you are suffering from other illness. You have the same entitlement to general health services and to community care services.

The Mental Health Commission, has, among other things, overall responsibility for the standards of mental health services. The Inspector of Mental Health Services carries out inspections of mental health facilities.

The overall aim of mental health services policy is to provide care in the community as far as is possible. There are specific mental health professionals who specialise in the provision of mental health services.

In-patient services for people with mental illness are provided in approved psychiatric centres. These are mainly psychiatric hospitals and psychiatric units in general hospitals.

The rules about admission to approved centres are set out in the Mental Health Act 2001. This Act also sets of the rights of psychiatric patients.

The Mental Health Commission has published a booklet, Your Guide to the Mental Health Act 2001, that explains your rights under mental health law.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has an information booklet The Journey Together (pdf) for families and friends who support people experiencing mental health problems.

Page edited: 30 September 2015