Victoria's Mental Health Act 2014 places people with a mental illness at the centre of decision making about their treatment and care.
The Mental Health Act encourages psychiatrists and other mental health practitioners to develop strong relationships with people using mental health services, and to provide them with information and support to make informed choices about their care.
The Mental Health Act promotes voluntary treatment in preference to compulsory treatment, and establishes robust safeguards and oversight mechanisms to protect the rights, dignity and autonomy of people living with a mental illness.
Focus of reform under the Act
The Mental Health Act 2014 came into effect on 1 July 2014. It delivers major reforms to Victoria's mental health system, placing people with a mental illness at the centre of their treatment, care and recovery.
The Act promotes supported decision-making and encourages strong communication between health practitioners, consumers, their families and carers. It supports people with a mental illness to make and participate in treatment decisions and to have their views and preferences considered and respected.
Core principles and objectives of the Act
The Mental Health Act has a number of core principles and objectives, including:
- assessment and treatment are provided in the least intrusive and restrictive way
- people are supported to make and participate in decisions about their assessment, treatment and recovery
- individuals’ rights, dignity and autonomy are protected and promoted at all times
- priority is given to holistic care and support options that are responsive to individual needs
- the wellbeing and safety of children and young people are protected and prioritised
- carers are recognised and supported in decisions about treatment and care.
A new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act for Victoria
In March 2021, the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System recommended that the Victorian Government repeal the Mental Health Act 2014 and enact a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act.
Further information on the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act and stakeholder consultation can be found on A new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act for Victoria.