Portugal’s new law on mental health approved

Articles 24/10/2022

The proposed law on mental health has been approved in its generality by the National Parliament, now followed by a vote on its specificity. The Government considered it was necessary to modernise the existing legislation, which has been in force since 1998, due to the scientific developments of these last few years.

The Government’s new proposal is towards a greater protection of the human rights of people with mental illness. The main innovation concerns the terminology: the expressions “person with mental illness” and “compulsory hospitalisation” are replaced by “person in need of mental health care” and “involuntary hospitalisation”.

To safeguard the freedom and autonomy of such persons, the new legislation also stipulates: 

  • The impossibility of employing measures which restrict the freedom of such persons for an unlimited or indefinite period; 
  • The reduction of the periodic review to one year in cases of hospitalisation; 
  • The admissibility of prior directives of will, where the person needing mental health care states the treatments he or she agrees to undergo.


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