Victorian mental health services sometimes have to work across catchment boundaries within Victoria as well as across state boundaries with interstate mental health services, to provide appropriate care to people with a mental illness.

Out of area

Victorians who seek help from a mental health service outside their catchment area have a right to immediate assessment of their needs. This means that mental health services will need to work with the person’s area of origin to determine funding and continuity of care arrangements. See out of area care below.

Out of Victoria

The interstate treatment, transfer and apprehension of compulsory patients is governed by Part 13 of the Mental Health Act 2014 and cross border ministerial agreements.

Currently Victoria has civil cross-border agreements with the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), New South Wales (NSW) and South Australia (SA). Victoria also has forensic cross-border ministerial agreements with the ACT and NSW for the apprehension and return of forensic and security patients.

These civil and forensic agreements remain valid but are difficult to operationalise because they were signed before the commencement of the 2014 Mental Health Act and so refer to provisions of the repealed 1986 Mental Health Act.

Work is being undertaken to update Victoria’s cross-border arrangements with other states and territories but in the meantime, mental health services with cross-border cases or questions should contact the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist at ocp@dhhs.vic.gov.au or on (03) 9096 7571 for specific advice.

Copies of the cross-border ministerial agreements and forms can be viewed on the relevant state tabs. Please note, while the agreements with the ACT, NSW and SA remain valid albeit out of date, the cross-border ministerial agreements with Queensland lapsed in 2018.