Key rights in Irish law for people with mental health difficulties:

The Employment Equality Act 1998
The Employment Equality Act protects you against certain kinds of discrimination in relation to employment. This includes protection for when you are in employment, applying for a job, on work experience or doing vocational training. The Act includes protection from discrimination due to disability and mental health difficulties are recognised as a disability. You are protected by this law whether you currently experience mental health difficulties or if you did so in the past. The Equality Authority has created a guide with practical information for people with experience of mental health difficulties on their equality rights in employment and access to services. You can access the guide on the Equality Authority website.

The Mental Health Act 2001
A small number of people with mental health problems will need hospital admission. Some of these people may not wish to be admitted and so may be 'involuntarily detained' in an approved mental health service, to receive the treatment they need. The Mental Health Act 2001 sets out provisions and principles that apply to anyone who is admitted involuntarily to mental health services in Ireland.  You can read the Mental Health Act 2001 online here.

Find out more about your rights under the Mental Health Act:
The Mental Health Commission provides a booklet to your rights under mental health law. This booklet answers a number of questions about mental health services including admission to hospital, your rights when receiving treatment, giving consent to treatment, and having a mental health tribunal. The booklet is useful for mental health service users and for family members, carers and loved ones. You can download the booklet on the Mental Health Commission website.

Information for young people

HeadSpaceIreland.ie is a website for young people who are inpatients of the mental health services. The website provides an online toolkit to help you:

  • Take part in the decisions made about you.

  • Through everything during your stay.

  • Make sure your rights are upheld.

You can use the toolkit on your own or you can use it with help from an adult that you trust such as a key worker, a nurse or other member of your team.