These definitions include terms used in the Mental Health Act 2014 handbook.

authorised officer means an authorised officer appointed under section 146 of the Mental Health Act 2014. These are employees with the necessary expertise and experience to assist the Chief Psychiatrist in the performance of his or her powers, duties and functions under the Act.

authorised person means a police officer, an ambulance paramedic, a registered medical practitioner employed or engaged by a designated mental health service, a mental health practitioner or a member of a class of prescribed persons.

authorised psychiatrist means a person appointed as an authorised psychiatrist for a designated mental health service under section 150 of the Mental Health Act 2014

authorised witness means a registered medical practitioner, a mental health practitioner or a person who may witness a statutory declaration.

bodily restraint means a form of physical or mechanical restraint that prevents a person having free movement of his or her limbs, but does not include the use of furniture (including beds with cot sides and chairs with tables fitted on their arms) that restricts the person’s ability to get off the furniture.

care relationship has the meaning given in section 4 of the Carers Recognition Act 2012. A person is in a care relationship if he or she provides another person, or receives from another person, care because one of the persons in the relationship has a disability, is older, has a mental illness, or has an ongoing medical condition (including a terminal or chronic illness or dementia).

carer means a person, including a person under the age of 18 years, who provides care to another person with whom he or she is in a care relationship but does not include a parent if the person to whom care is provided is under the age of 16 years.

chief psychiatrist means the person appointed as Victoria's Chief Psychiatrist under section 119 of the Mental Health Act 2014.

compulsory patient means a person who is subject to an Assessment Order, Court Assessment Order, Temporary Treatment Order or Treatment Order.

consumer means a person who:

  • has received or is receiving mental health services from a mental health service provider
  • was assessed by an authorised psychiatrist and was not provided with treatment or sought
  • is seeking mental health services from a mental health service provider and was or is not provided with mental health services.

designated mental health service is a public hospital, public health service, denominational hospital, privately operated hospital or a private hospital within the meaning of section 3(1) of the Health Services Act 1998 that has been prescribed in the Mental Health Regulations 2014, or the Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health.

electroconvulsive treatment means the application of electric current to specific areas of a person's head to produce a generalised seizure.

forensic patient means a person who is:

  • remanded in custody in a designated mental health service or committed to custody in a designated mental health service by a supervision order under the Crimes Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried Act 1997
  • detained in a designated mental health service under section 30(2) or 30A(3) of the Crimes Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried Act 1997
  • deemed to be a forensic patient by section 73E(4) or 73K(8) of the Crimes Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried Act 1997
  • detained in a designated mental health service under 20BJ(1) or 20BM of the Crimes Act 1914 (Cth)
  • an international forensic patient within the meaning of section 73O of the Crimes Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried Act 1997
  • taken from a prison to a designated mental health service in accordance with a direction made by the Secretary to the Department of Justice under section 306 of the Mental Health Act 2014.

guardian has the same meaning as it has in section 3(1) of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986 and means:

(a) the Public Advocate, person or body named as a plenary guardian or limited guardian in a guardianship order
(b) a person who becomes a guardian under section 35 of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986
(c) a person named as an enduring guardian in an instrument appointing such a guardian.

medical treatment means:

(a) medical treatment (including any medical or surgical procedure, operation or examination and any prophylactic, palliative or rehabilitative care) normally carried out by, or under, the supervision of a registered medical practitioner
(b) dental treatment (including any dental procedure, operation or examination) normally carried out by or under the supervision of a registered dental practitioner
(c) the administration of a pharmaceutical drug for which a prescription is required
(d) any other treatment that is not referred to in paragraph (a), (b) or (c) and is prescribed by the regulations to be medical treatment for the purposes of this Act but does not include
(e) a special procedure or medical research procedure within the meaning of the Guardianship and Administration Act 1986
(f) any non-intrusive examination made for diagnostic purposes (including a visual examination of the mouth, throat, nasal cavity, eyes or ears) 
(g) first-aid treatment
(h) any treatment for mental illness or the effects of mental illness.

mental health practitioner means a person who is employed or engaged by a designated mental health service and is a registered psychologist, registered nurse, social work or registered occupational therapist.

mental health service provider means a designated mental health service or a publicly funded mental health community support service.

mental illness is a medical condition that is characterised by a significant disturbance of thought, mood, perception or memory.

A person is not to be considered to have mental illness merely because the person:

  • expresses or refuses or fails to express a particular political opinion or belief, religious opinion or belief, philosophy, sexual preference or sexual orientation, political activity, or religious activity
  • engages in sexual promiscuity, immoral or illegal conduct or antisocial behaviour
  • is intellectually disabled
  • uses drugs or consumes alcohol
  • has a particular economic or social status or is a member of a particular cultural or racial group
  • is or has previously been involved in family conflict
  • has previously been treated for mental illness.

neurosurgery for mental illness means:

  • any surgical technique or procedure by which one or more lesions are created in a person's brain on the same or on separate occasions for the purpose of treatment
  • the use of intracerebral electrodes to create one or more lesions in a person's brain on the same or on separate occasions for the purpose of treatment or
  • the use of intracerebral electrodes to cause stimulation through the electrodes on the same or on separate occasions without creating a lesion in the person's brain for the purpose oftreatment.

parent, in relation to a person under the age of 18 years, includes:

  • a person who has custody or daily care and control of the person
  • a person who has all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority (whether conferred by a court or otherwise) which by law parents have in relation to their children
  • any other person who has the legal right to make decisions about medical treatment of the person.

patient means a compulsory patient, security patient or forensic patient.

psychiatrist means a person who is registered under the Health Practitioner National Law as a medical practitioner in the speciality of psychiatry (other than as a student).

registered medical practitioner means a person who is registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law to practise in the medical profession (other than as a student).

registered nurse means a person who is registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law to practise in the nursing and midwifery profession as a nurse (other than as a midwife or as a student) and is in the registered nurses division of that profession.

registered occupational therapist means a person who is registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law to practise in the occupational therapy profession (other than as a student).

registered psychologist means a person who is registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law to practise in the psychology profession (other than as a student).

A restrictive intervention means seclusion or bodily restraint.

seclusion means the sole confinement of a person to a room or any other enclosed space from which it is not within the control of the person confined to leave.

security patient means a person who is detained in a designated mental health service and is subject to (irrespective of whether the person is absent with or without leave from the designated mental health service) a Court Secure Treatment Order or a Secure Treatment Order.

senior available next of kin is:

(a) in relation to a deceased child
(i) if a parent of the child is available, a parent of the child
(ii) if a parent of the child is not available, a brother or sister of the child who has attained the age of 18 years and who is available
(iii) if no person referred to in subparagraph (i) or (ii) is available, a person who was the guardian of the child immediately before the death of the child and who is available.

(b) in relation to any other deceased person
(i) if the person, immediately before the person's death, had a spouse or domestic partner and that spouse or domestic partner is available, that spouse or domestic partner
(ii) if the person, immediately before the person's death, did not have a spouse or domestic partner or the spouse or domestic partner is not available, a son or daughter of the person who has attained the age of 18 years and who is available
(iii) if no person referred to in subparagraph (i) or (ii) is available but a parent of the person is available, that parent
(iv) if no person referred to in subparagraph (i), (ii) or (iii) is available, a brother or sister of the person who has attained the age of 18 years and is available.

treatment is things done in the course of professional skill to remedy mental illness or to alleviate the symptoms and reduce the ill effects of mental illness. It includes electroconvulsive treatment and neurosurgery for mental illness.

treatment criteria are that:

  • the person has mental illness
  • because the person has mental illness, the person needs immediate treatment to prevent serious deterioration in the person’s mental or physical health or serious harm to the person or to another person
  • the immediate treatment will be provided to the person if the person is subject to a Temporary Treatment Order or Treatment Order
  • there is no less restrictive means reasonably available to enable the person to receive the immediate treatment.

young person is a person under 18 years of age.