The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System recommended the Victorian Government replace the Mental Health Act 2014 with a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act.
The new Act
- promotes good mental health and wellbeing for all Victorians
- resets the legislative foundations for the mental health and wellbeing system
- supports the delivery of services that are responsive to the needs and preferences of Victorians
- establishes new roles and entities recommended by the Royal Commission
- puts the views, preferences and values of people living with mental illness or psychological distress, families, carers and supporters at the forefront of service design and delivery.
The Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 supports the establishment of new roles and entities recommended by the Royal Commission. This includes a new , Regional Mental Health and Wellbeing Boards, Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing Victoria and a new Chief Officer for Mental Health and Wellbeing.
The legislation contains new rights-based objectives and principles to drive the highest possible standard of mental health and wellbeing for Victorians.
Implementing the new Act
The department has developed resources to help the community and the mental health and wellbeing sector transition to the new Act.
The Victorian Government introduced the Mental Health and Wellbeing Bill to the Victorian Parliament in June 2022. The Department of Health held engagement activities with the mental health sector and community between June and August 2021 to help develop the Bill.
Information about the development of the Bill and an overview of its proposed content were published in a paper on the .
In December 2021, the department released the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act: What We Heard report. The report provides an overview of feedback to the policy proposals outlined in the engagement paper.
Feedback was received from consumers, families, carers, supporters, workers, academics, peak bodies, unions, legal services and providers of mental health and wellbeing services. Overall, responses were positive about the need to make changes to the legislation for mental health and wellbeing in Victoria.
Independent review update
In June 2022, the Minister for Mental Health appointed an independent review panel to make recommendations to government about Victoria’s compulsory treatment criteria and decision-making laws.
Following completion of a public consultation process led by the review panel, including the Engage Victoria consultation, the department will coordinate the next phase of this vital work. This will involve seeking the expertise, advice and guidance of a range of views and voices, including people with lived and living experience, clinicians and the broader mental health and wellbeing sector.
The department will deliver advice to government by June 2024.
Reviewed 14 September 2023