Department of Health

What’s changed with supported decision making?

    Under the new Act, supported decision making practices are to be promoted.

    The Act’s supported decision making principle highlights that people receiving mental health and wellbeing services are to be supported to make decisions and be involved in decisions about their assessment, treatment and recovery - including when they are receiving compulsory treatment.

    ...And the views and preferences of the person are to be given priority.

    An important change is the new obligation to provide appropriate support to people to understand and participate in decisions about their treatment, care and support.

    Appropriate supports are things that can reasonably be done to assist the person to make decisions and participate in decision making, understand their rights and communicate their views, preference or decisions.

    This will vary from person to person but might for example include – communicating in a preferred language, considering the appropriate physical and sensory environment for communications, or allowing the person’s family to be present for discussions either in person or online.

    The Act includes mechanisms for supported decision making, including advance statements of preferences, nominated support persons and a legislated opt out model of non-legal mental health advocacy.

    Victoria Legal Aid’s Independent Mental Health Advocacy service – IMHA - is the provider of non-legal mental health advocacy service.

    You can find more information in the Act handbook on the health.vic website or the IMHA website.

    Reviewed 13 August 2023