The Mental Health Commission is an independent statutory body established under the Mental Health Act 2001 and its key functions are laid down in Section 33 of the Act.
The principal functions of the Commission are to promote, encourage and foster the establishment and maintenance of high standards in the delivery of mental health services and to take all reasonable steps to protect the interests of persons detained in approved centres under the Act. To further protect the interests of persons involuntarily admitted to approved centres the Commission:
- appoints members of Mental Health Tribunals.
- establishes a panel of Consultant Psychiatrists to carry out independent medical examinations of persons involuntarily admitted to approved centres
- establishes a legal aid scheme for persons involuntarily admitted to approved centres.
The Commission also appoints the Inspector of Mental Health Services (Section 50, Mental Health Act 2001). In accordance with the Act, the Inspector of Mental Health Services is required to visit and inspect every approved centre annually and, as the Inspectorate think appropriate, to visit and inspect any other premises where mental health services are being provided.
The Commission publishes an Annual Report, which includes the Report of the Inspector of Mental Health Services, which is laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas.