What is the ACT Mental Health Act 2015?
The Mental Health Act 2015 (the Act) refers to the legislation in the ACT that applies to the assessment, treatment, care and support of people experiencing a mental illness or mental disorder.
The Act is designed to empower people to participate in decisions about their health care and sets out the legal responsibilities of professionals, such as doctors, mental health workers, ambulance and police officers.
The Act was the result of considerable stakeholder and public consultation and seeks to promote a renewed recovery-oriented approach to mental health service delivery. It brings the ACT’s mental health legislation in line with human rights law including the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with a Disability and the Human Rights Act 2004.
The Act came into effect on 1 March 2016, replacing the previous Mental Health (Treatment & Care) Act 1994.
Report on the review of Section 85 of the Mental Health Act 2015
When the Mental Health Act 2015 was introduced the maximum period of emergency detention was increased from 7 days to 11 days. The Act required that this section of the Act be reviewed, including a period of public consultation.
The ACT Government held this consultation in 2018 and on 30 July 2019 the report from the review was tabled in the Legislative Assembly. The report concluded that the change in the maximum period of further detention from seven days in the old Act to eleven days in the Mental Health Act 2015 has had predominantly positive effects and no determinantal impact. The full report as tabled can be seen below.
2019 Community Consultation about the Mental Health Act 2015
In early 2019 the ACT Government sought public feedback on the involuntary orders that can be made under the Act:
- Psychiatric treatment orders;
- Community care orders;
- Forensic psychiatric treatment orders; and
- Forensic community care orders.
This consultation closed on 25 June 2019 and the public submissions are being considered. A report will be prepared for presenting to the Legislative Assembly in the coming months.