Know your rights

Your rights under the Mental Health Act 2014 and associated regulations.
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The Mental Health Act 2014 (the Act) and associated regulations set out your rights if you are receiving mental health services. The objects of the Act are as follows:

  1. to ensure people who have a mental illness are provided the best possible treatment and care:
    1. with the least possible restriction of their freedom; and
    2. with the least possible interference with their rights; and
    3. with respect for their dignity;
  2. to recognise the role of carers and families in the treatment, care and support of people who have a mental illness;
  3. to recognise and facilitate the involvement of people who have a mental illness, their nominated persons and their carers and families in the consideration of the options that are available for their treatment and care;
  4.  to help minimise the effect of mental illness on family life;
  5. to ensure the protection of people who have or may have a mental illness;
  6. to ensure the protection of the community.

The Act also refers to a Charter of Mental Health Care Principles which all mental health services must make every effort to comply with, and people performing functions under the Act must have regard to. There are also National Standards for Mental Health Services.

If you are an involuntary patient or a voluntary patient, you still have rights under the Act and associated regulations. Mental Health Advocates can help you to understand and enforce those rights. Contact us and we will arrange for an Advocate to contact you.

Your rights on an Involuntary Treatment Order

There are two different involuntary treatment orders. 

  • an Inpatient Treatment Order (Form 6)
  • a Community Treatment Order (CTO) (Form 5)

You have rights, even if you are on an Involuntary Inpatient Treatment Order and detained on a locked mental health ward. 

Your rights include the following:

  • information about your rights.
  • ask questions and be fully informed about any treatment offered to you.
  • Right to receive a further opinion about treatment.
  • Right to have your involuntary status reviewed by the Mental Health Tribunal.
  • Right to be represented at a hearing before the Mental Health Tribunal.
  • Right to freedom of lawful communication.
  • Right to a medical examination after being admitted to a hospital.
  • Right to access your medical records.
  • Right to keep your personal possessions securely while you are a patient in a hospital.
  • Right to an interview with a psychiatrist.
  • Right to confidentiality.
  • Right to nominate a nominated person.
  • Right to have a treatment, support and discharge plan and be involved in the making of the plan, if you are an involuntary patient.
  • Right to make a complaint to the mental health service and/or the Health and Disability Services Complaints Office if you are unsatisfied.
  • Right to seek legal advice.
  • Right to access the Mental Health Advocacy Service.
  • If you are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, to the extent practicable and appropriate, to have treatment provided in collaboration with an Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander mental health worker and significant members of your community including elders and traditional healers.

A Mental Health Advocate can visit you on the ward or call you if you are on a CTO and help you to understand those rights and enforce them.

We also have a brochure about your rights that has been translated into many languages. They are available on the brochure translations page.

The Mental Health Commission website has a large number of resources which set out your rights in more detail.