Key messages

  • Emergency department care is principally based on human rights, timely access to care and continuity of care.

The care of people with mental health needs in the emergency department is based on fundamental principles concerning human rights, timely access to the best care available and continuity of care.

The principles are:

  • recognition of the human rights of people with a mental illness in accordance with the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006, and treatment and care in accordance with the Mental Health Act 2014
  • timely access to mental health assessment and care for people who present to the emergency department with a mental illness
  • a collaborative team approach between the emergency department, mental health service and other services such as community services and general practitioners
  • continuity of care through the development of links between hospital emergency departments, internal departments and other organisations
  • integration with the broader health system, with a clear role and linkages to other services, such as mental health telephone triage, community care, mental health inpatient units
  • best care within available resources (and a clear plan to manage times when resources are overwhelmed).