Independent Mental Health Advocacy

Having more say over your treatment

How making an advance statement or nominating a person to help represent your interests can help you.

You can have more control over your treatment if you:

  • make an advance statement that sets out your treatment preferences
  • nominate a person to help represent your interests.

You can also ask for a second opinion from another psychiatrist.

Advance statements

An advance statement sets out what your preferences are for treatment, if you become so unwell that you require compulsory treatment.

You can make an advance statement at any time. It must be:

  • a written statement
  • signed and dated by you
  • witnessed by an ‘authorised witness’.

Read more about how an advance statement works.

Nominated person

A nominated person is somebody who you nominate to receive information and support you while you are receiving treatment as a compulsory patient under the Mental Health Act 2014.

The nomination must:

  • be in writing
  • signed and dated by you
  • give the name and contact details of the person you wish to nominate
  • include a statement signed by the nominated person that they agree to be nominated
  • be witnessed by an 'authorised witness'.

Read more about nominating a person to support you.

Authorised witnesses

The authorised witness must include a statement that you understand the statement and the consequences of making it. The authorised witness can be a:

  • registered mental health practitioner – a doctor or psychiatrist
  • mental health practitioner – a social worker or a registered nurse, psychologist or occupational therapist working at a public mental health service
  • person authorised to witness statutory declarations.

The Department of Justice has a list of who can witness statutory declarationsExternal Link .

How an advocate can support you

If you are receiving compulsory treatment, you may feel you need help to understand and act on your rights in the mental health system.

Our independent advocates can:

  • listen to what you want and talk to you about your options
  • give you information and support to act on your rights
  • work with you so you can have your say
  • refer you to other services if requested.

Find out more about how we can support you.

We do not provide legal representation or specific advice about how the law applies in your particular situation. If you require legal help, ask your advocate to put you in touch with Victoria Legal Aid.

Reviewed 03 May 2022