Department of Health

What the Royal Commission said

The Royal Commission recommended the Victorian Government:

  • promote, protect and ensure the right of people living with mental illness or psychological distress to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of mental health and wellbeing without discrimination
  • provide in the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act an opt-out model of access to non-legal advocacy services for consumers who are subject to or at risk of compulsory treatment
  • increase access to legal representation for consumers who appear before the Mental Health Tribunal, particularly when consecutive compulsory treatment orders in the community are being sought
  • align mental health laws over time with other decision-making laws with a view to promoting supported decision-making principles and practices.

Victoria's Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 (the Act) takes effect on 1 September 2023.

The Act enables a new opt out model of access to non-legal advocacy services for people who are at risk of or receiving compulsory mental health treatment.

Victoria Legal Aid’s Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) service is the designated non-legal advocacy service provider.

From September, mental health and wellbeing service providers must notify IMHA at defined points. For example, when a temporary treatment order or treatment order is made, varied or revoked.

The notification allows IMHA to contact the consumer to provide information and support so they can understand and exercise their rights under the Act.

IMHA advocates help consumers participate in decisions about their assessment, treatment and recovery. People can 'opt out' if they don't want IMHA support.

The Department of Health and IMHA are working to develop processes to establish the opt out register.

Read more about IMHA services on the Independent Mental Health AdvocacyExternal Link website.

Reviewed 13 July 2023

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