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Victoria's Mental Health Services


The Victorian Mental Health Act 1986 provides a legislative framework for the care, treatment and protection of people with mental illness in Victoria.

The Mental Health Act establishes procedures for initiating involuntary treatment, making involuntary treatment orders and independent review by the Mental Health Review Board.

Key features of the Mental Health Act are its emphasis on rights and the requirement that treatment should be provided in the least possible restrictive environment and in the least possible intrusive manner.

The Mental Health Act provides that interference with the rights, privacy, dignity and self-respect of people with mental illness must be kept to the minimum necessary in the circumstances.

Mental Health Act 1986 - Reform

Drafting of the new Mental Health Act is underway. The legislative reforms will promote recovery oriented practice, minimise the duration of compulsory treatment, safeguard the rights and dignity of people with mental illness and enhance oversight while encouraging innovation and service improvement. Further information about the reforms is available on the Mental Health Act reform website.

Where to get a copy of the Mental Health Act 1986

Copies of the Mental Health Act 1986 and the Mental Health Regulations 1998 can be viewed or downloaded from the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website.

Hard copies of the Mental Health Act and the Mental Health Regulations can be purchased from the Victorian Government Bookshop, Level 20, 80 Collins St, Melbourne, 3000, or on 1300 366 356 for the cost of a local call anywhere in Australia or +613 9603 9900 for international callers.


The information provided on these pages is intended as general information about the Mental Health Act 1986 and not as legal advice. If individuals or health service providers have queries about their obligations under the Mental Health Act they should obtain independent legal advice.

Related Information
Program Management Circulars
Chief Psychiatrist
Chief Psychiatrists Guidelines
Patients Rights Booklets
Cross Border Agreements
Mental Health Act 1986 - Reform


Last updated: 25 October, 2013
This Web site is managed by the Mental Health, Drugs & Regions Division of the State Government Department of Health, Victoria, Australia

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For general enquiries to the Department of Health telephone 61 3 90960000