Victoria’s New Mental Health Act
New mental health legislation is a central element in the Victorian Government’s agenda for mental health reform.
The government has undertaken extensive public consultations to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the Mental Health Act 1986 and what people living with a mental illness, families, carers, clinicians and service providers expect of mental health legislation for Victoria. These consultations were extremely useful, with the community and government working in partnership to shape what a new Mental Health Act in Victoria could look like.
The Minister for Mental Health, the Hon Mary Wooldridge MP, released the document A new Mental Health Act for Victoria - Summary of proposed reforms on 8 October 2012 which outlines the government’s key reform objectives and policy intentions.
The legislative reforms will promote recovery-oriented practice, minimise the duration of compulsory treatment, safeguard the rights and dignity of people living with mental illness and enhance oversight while encouraging innovation and service improvement. These reforms will result in significant improvements to Victoria’s mental health system.
The new legislation will embed supported decision making through the establishment of various mechanisms that will facilitate strong partnerships between patients, carers and practitioners. At the same time there will be greater focus on supporting public-sector clinicians and public mental health service providers to deliver high quality mental health care.
Drafting of the Mental Health Bill is underway.
A significant amount of work will need to be done to effectively implement the Bill. The Summary of proposed reforms paper provides details of the key elements of reform and an opportunity to begin planning for implementation. It will also form the basis for discussions with stakeholders about the reform directions and the necessary steps to prepare for the new mental health legislation.
The government looks forward to working in close partnership with people with a mental health illness, carers, families and mental health services to ensure the successful transition to the new Mental Health Act.
Policy reforms outlined for a new Mental Health Act - 8 October 2012 (pdf, 67kb)