The Victorian Government introduced the Mental Health Bill 2014 (Vic) to Parliament on 18 February 2014. The Bill proposes to repeal the Mental Health Act 1986 (Vic) and introduce significant changes to compulsory assessment and treatment of people with mental illness. If passed, the Bill will ensure people with mental illness who are subject to compulsory treatment are supported to make or participate in making decisions about their treatment. The Bill will also acknowledge the important role of families and carers in supporting the recovery of people with mental illness.
The key reforms proposed by the Bill include to:
- Establish a recovery-focussed framework and support decision-making through mechanisms such as a presumption of capacity, advance care statements, nominated persons and a right to seek a second psychiatric opinion.
- Minimise the use and duration of compulsory treatment orders to ensure treatment is provided in the least restrictive and least intrusive manner by providing specific criteria for compulsory treatment, creating treatment orders that operate for a fixed term and requiring oversight by an Independent Mental Health Tribunal.
- Enhance safeguards to protect the rights of people with mental illness, including establishing a Mental Health Complaints Commissioner, requiring statements of rights to inform patients about their right to participate in and make decisions about their treatment and affirming the importance of Community Visitors continuing to visit patients to discuss their treatment.
The Bill is proposed to commence on 1 July 2014.
To view the Bill, click here.