Mental Health Act 2014
Focus of the Act
The Mental Health Act came into effect on 1 July 2014. It sets out a framework intended to promote recovery-oriented practice, minimise compulsory treatment and protect and support the rights of people living with mental illness. These include rights to:
- make advance statements
- communicate privately with people outside a mental health service, including lawyers specifically, and have visitors
- nominate support people, who can receive information and support decision-making
- request second psychiatric opinions
- be given a statement of rights when being assessed or having an order made about their treatment for mental illness.
Old and new terminology in the legislation
|Under the old Act||In the new Act||Section/part|
|Mental Health Review Board (MHRB)||Mental Health Tribunal (MHT)||Part 8|
|Involuntary treatment||Compulsory treatment||Part 4 Compulsory Patients|
|Involuntary patient||Compulsory patient– a person who is subject to:|
(a) an assessment order
|Request and recommendation||Assessment order|
Note: Criteria only requires a person to ‘appear to have mental illness’.
|Part 4, Division 1|
|Involuntary treatment order||Treatment order (community or inpatient)||Part 4, Division 4|
|Appeal||Application for revocation||s. 60|
|Treatment plan||[No equivalent, but see statement of rights regarding process, advance statements, nominated persons, and Part 5]||Part 3 Protection of rights, Part 5 Treatment|
|Treatment criteria||Treatment criteria|
The treatment criteria for a person to be made subject to a temporary treatment order or treatment order are:
(a) the person has mental illness; and (b) because the person has mental illness, the person needs immediate treatment to prevent:
(i) serious deterioration in the person’s mental or physical health, or
(c) the immediate treatment will be provided to the person if the person is subject to a temporary treatment order or treatment order, and
(d) there is no less restrictive means reasonably available to enable the person to receive the immediate treatment.
|Treatment criteria||Advance statement|
An advance statement is a document that sets out a person’s preferences in relation to treatmentin the event thatthe person becomes a patient.
|Part 3, Division 3|
|Treatment criteria||Nominated person|
The role of a nominated person in relation to a patient is to:
(a) provide the patient with support and to help represent the interests of the patient, and
|Part 3, Division 4|
|Treatment criteria||Statement of rights|
A statement of rights is a document in an approved form that:
(a) sets out a person’s rights under this Act while being assessed or receiving treatment in relation to his or her mental illness, and
|Part 3, Division 1|
|Treatment criteria||Mental Health Complaints Commissioner|
The Mental Health Complaints Commissioner will accept, assess, manage, investigate and endeavour to resolve complaints about public mental health service providers.
|Part 10 Complaints, Division 1|
A patient is:
(a) a compulsory patient
Mental Health Tribunal
The Act establishes the Mental Health Tribunal, replacing the Mental Health Review Board. The new tribunal continues to play the role of independent decision-maker, but differs from the former board in the powers it holds.
Two of the main changes are that:
- approval must be sought from the tribunal before administering electroconvulsive treatment, except if there is informed consent, and
- only the tribunal can make a treatment order – the former board reviewed and confirmed rather than made the orders.