Best Practice Guidance for Mental Health Services

Article 6

by Linda Moore, September 2017


The Best Practice Guidance was launched in April 2017...

...and was developed with service users and staff over the last year. It tells services what they need to do to make sure that children and adults in the care of our mental health services receive a high quality, safe service that meets their needs. The aim of the Guidance is to inform mental health services in Ireland of best mental health care practices. 

The Best Practice Guidance consists of the Guidance itself and relevant checklists and an online Guidance Assessment Improvement Tool (the GAIT), which are intended to support and guide further quality improvement within mental health services. The one composite document includes:

  • The Mental Health Act (2001) as amended, Statutory Instruments, Rules, Regulations and Codes of Practice.
  • National and International Best Practice.

It sets out the key principles of quality and safety that should be applied in any mental health setting. It is informed and underpinned by the principles of recovery and can be used by service users to understand what high quality, accessible, inclusive and safe mental health services look like.  It will give a voice to service users and foster collaboration on the service user’s recovery journey. Most importantly, it seeks to involve service users, families and carers in assessing the quality of the mental health services, thereby, providing greater transparency about the services to service users, families, carers and the wider public.

All mental health services across Ireland will be asked to self assess against this best practice guidance in order to identify both good practice and areas where improvements can be made. The self assessment teams are multidisciplinary and may include a service user. As a service user, family member or carer, you may be asked to be a member of a self assessment team, or you may be asked some questions about the service by members of staff as they are assessing their level of achievement with the terms of the Guidance.  

A Best Practice Guidance “train the trainer” programme has commenced across the country to support the introduction of the Best Practice Guidance. The trainers, known as “Quality Champions” will, then, train and mentor self assessment teams in each service. We are delighted that two of the Area Leads for Mental Health Engagement have recently completed this training.

  • The introductory module "Introducing you to the HSE Best Practice Guidance for Mental Health Services" is available on HSELand.
  • Watch our introductory whiteboard animation on YouTube.
  • Download leaflets and guides related to the HSE Best Practice Guidance on our microsite.

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