Department of Health

The Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 (the Act) includes specific decision-making principles to promote the rights of people subject to compulsory assessment and treatment and restrictive interventions.

The Act sets out five decision making principles:

  • Care and transition to less restrictive support principle
  • Consequences of compulsory assessment and treatment and restrictive interventions principle
  • No therapeutic benefit to restrictive interventions principle
  • Balancing of harm principle
  • Autonomy principle

This guidance sits alongside obligations on mental health and wellbeing service providers to give proper consideration to the mental health and wellbeing principles of the Act (Part 1.5). Public authorities (including all public mental health services) are also obligated to give proper consideration to rights protected under the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006.

Purpose of this interim guidance

The Act allows for the Chief Psychiatrist to prepare guidelines to assist clinical mental health service providers in meeting their obligations under the decision-making principles in line with the Act.

In making such guidelines the Chief Psychiatrist is required to consult with consumers, carers, the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission and members of the workforce.

This interim guidance is intended to assist people to understand how they can give effect to the decision-making principles ahead of the guidelines being made. It is the basis for consulting on the guidelines.

Mental health and wellbeing service providers may use this interim guidance to develop local policies and procedures relating to decision-making principles.

Reviewed 20 September 2023


Contact us

Office of the Chief Psychiatrist

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