Independent Mental Health Advocacy

Making an advance statement is one way for you to have some control over your treatment. An advance statement sets out what your preferences are for treatment, if you become so unwell that you require compulsory treatment.

Watch our video – introduction to advance statements

We have developed a video with a consumer about making an advance statement. The video is also available with an AUSLAN interpreterExternal Link if you need.

How to make an advance statement

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’.

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 advance statement works

If you have an advance statement and a different type of treatment is being considered, then your preferred treatment set out in your statement must be considered by the treating practitioner.

If your preferred treatment is not deemed clinically appropriate by the service or not ordinarily provided by the mental health service you are being treated by, then your advance statement may not be followed.

If this happens, you must be told why. You can also ask for written reasons. These must be given to you in writing within 10 business days of asking.

Cancelling or changing an advance statement

You can revoke (cancel) your advance statement in writing at any time. You must sign and date the revocation and have it witnessed by an authorised witness. They must include a written statement that you understand the consequences of revoking the statement.

Or you can make a new advance statement. This new advance statement has the effect of revoking the previous statement automatically.

If you change your mind, you are not able to amend an advance statement. You must make a new statement.

How an advocate can support you

We can support you to prepare an advance statement so that your wishes can be taken into account if you are subjected to compulsory treatment in the future.

Our independent advocates can also:

  • 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 needed.

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.

Download our guide and template for making an advance statement

To make it easier for you, we have provided a guide and template. The guide and template are available in IMHA design or First Nations design.

Reviewed 11 August 2022


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