Independent Mental Health Advocacy

Self-help tool

We help you understand your rights and options when you are receiving compulsory mental health treatment.

I want to change my treating team

This information discusses why you may want to change your treating team, your rights to request a change, and how you can make the request.

    • Gender – you may prefer or feel more comfortable with someone from a specific gender.
    • Personality and communication – you may have a clash of personality or communication issues with a staff member.
    • Mental health – a change to your treating team may be more helpful for your mental health. You may have had negative past experiences with a staff member and need a fresh start with a new person.
    • Clinical opinion – you may disagree with a clinician's opinion and prefer another person to take over your treatment.
    • Rights – a staff member treating you may not be respecting your rights, therefore you may want to try a different relationship.

Your rights

Under the Act you have rights to be involved in decisions about your assessment, treatment and recovery. Therefore, you may request a change, however, you should be aware that the service’s response may be influenced by the staff and resources available.

  • The treating team must support you to make or participate in decisions about your assessment, treatment and recovery. This means that you can ask for information about the other staff available to treat you if you have concerns.

  • Your individual needs, such as your culture, language, communication, age, disability, religion as well as sexuality, should be respected and responded to. The law makes specific mention that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should have their distinct identity and culture respected and responded to.

  • You have the right to the least restrictive assessment and treatment possible. For example, you may find that a change of staff or your own private mental health worker is less restrictive for you.

Your options

If you want to request a change of treating team member, here are some options. You may need to try multiple options.

  • If you want to change a member of your treating team, the most direct way is to ask a staff member. For example, this can be a nurse, social worker or psychiatrist. It can help to explain the rights that you have and the reason why you want to change the staff member.

  • If you have made a request and have been told no, you can always ask for a more senior person to review the decision. You can ask the person who refused your request who is the next person to review their decision.

  • You can contact your personal psychiatrist if you have one, or try to find a private psychiatrist who will take over your care. You can then request the treating team to hand over your care to a private psychiatrist. TheYour Health In MindExternal Link has a service to help you find psychiatrists.

  • You can make a complaint to the service, or to the Mental Health Complaints CommissionerExternal Link (1800 246 054), saying that you have concerns about your treating team or that you want to change your treating team.

    If your complaint is about an individual practitioner, you may consider making a complaint to theAustralian Health Practitioner’s Health AgencyExternal Link (1300 419 495).

  • If you are not able to get a change of treating team, you can talk to the staff member that you have concerns about. With the option of bringing an advocate or support person, you can talk to the staff member about your concerns and your expectations of them from now on.

My Choices

Now that you have read about your options, please choose the ones you want to try. These will be put into your plan that you can print out or download.

Generate your plan

Reviewed 03 September 2021