Clinical Notes : Mental Health

151. Involuntary Admission Procedures for Adults

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Mental Health Act 2001

The majority of admissions to Approved Centres are on a voluntary basis . 


With the full implementation of the MHA 2001 from the 1st November 2006 there are new statutory criteria and procedures for involuntary admission to Approved Centres. 


Although the MHA 2001 provides for new procedures it does not replace clinical judgment and decision making . 


Under the MHA 2001 a person can only be admitted to an Approved Centre as an involuntary patient when the legal definition of mental disorder is met. 


All registered medical practitioners (e.g. G.Ps) mut become familiar with the: 

  • Legal definition of mental disorder

  • New procedures for registered medical practitioners who may be recommending involuntary admission

  • Exclusion criteria for involuntary admission , Section 8(2) MHA 2001  

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Legal definition of a mental disorder (Section 3, MHA 2001)


Involuntary Admission Procedure (MHA 2001)


The following persons shall be disqualified for making an application in respect of a person :

(a) a person under the age of 18 years,

(b) an authorised officer or a member of the Garda Síochána who is a relative of the person or of the spouse or civil partner of the person,

(c) a member of the governing body, or the staff, or the person in charge, of the approved centre concerned,

(d) any person with an interest in the payments (if any) to be made in respect of the taking care of the person concerned in the approved centre concerned,

(e) any registered medical practitioner who provides a regular medical service at the approved centre concerned,

(f) the spouse or civil partner, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, uncle or aunt of any of the persons mentioned in the foregoing

paragraphs (b) to (e), whether of the whole blood, of the half blood or by affinity.


Statutory Forms (MHA 2001)


When a Spouse or Civil Partner or Relative requests a home visit with a view to assessment for involuntary admission :

  • call the S-CP-R and determine the exact circumstances including :

  • history

  • medication

  • current mental state, state of intoxication

  • threat of self harm to self or others


If the patient is intoxicated :

  • the patient will be refused admission to Psychiatric Hospital

  • refer to A+E for detox prior to referral for admission from there


If the patient poses a threat to your safety or that of others :

  • request that the S-CP-R call the Garda to place the patient under protective custody

  • the garda will then call you to the garda station to assess for completion of Form 5 when it is safe to do so


If the patient does not pose a threat to your safety or that of others, and does not meet the criteria for exclusion :

  • ensure that the S-CP-R is willing to complete Form 1

  • ensure that the S-CP-R understands that if after examination you complete Form 5, you will then forward both Form 1 and Form 5 to the Clinical Director of the local Approved Centre. The Clinical Director may then request that Garda apprehend the patient and convey him/her to the Local Psychiatric Hospital for admission


‘authorised officer’’ means an officer of a health board who is of a prescribed rank or grade and who is authorised by the chief executive officer to exercise the powers conferred on authorised officers bythis section;

‘‘spouse’’, in relation to a person, does not include a spouse of a person who is living separately and apart from the person or in respect of whom an application or order has been made under the Domestic Violence Act, 1996.

‘civil partner’ in relation to a person, does not include a civil partner of the person who is living separately and apart from the person or in respect of whom an application or order has been made under the Domestic Violence Acts 1996 and 2002 as amended by the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010;”


When a Member of the Garda Síochána requests a visit to the garda station with a view to assessment for involuntary admission :

ensure that the Garda completes and issues Form 3


Ensure that the Member of the Public is not disqualified from making the application

(see Step 1 above)


The Clinical Director of the local Approved Centre will not accept a Form 5 unless it is 100% correctly and fully completed.


Mental Health Commission

Mental Health Act, 2001 and Regulations


Mental Health Commission

Your Rights : Guide to the Mental Health Act, 2013


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