Principles of the Mental Health Act

Principles of the Mental Health Act

The Mental Health Act 2014 contains a number of principles to guide the provision of mental health services:

  • People receiving mental health services should be provided assessment and treatment in the least restrictive way possible with voluntary assessment and treatment preferred.

  • People receiving mental health services should be provided those services with the aim of bringing about the best possible therapeutic outcomes and promoting recovery and full participation in community life.

  • People receiving mental health services should be involved in all decisions about their assessment, treatment and recovery and be supported to make, or participate in those decisions and their views and preferences should be respected.

  • People receiving mental health services should be allowed to make decisions about their assessment, treatment and recovery that involve a degree of risk.

  • People receiving mental health services should have their rights, dignity and autonomy respected and promoted.

  • People receiving mental health services should have their medical and other health needs, including any alcohol and other drug problems, recognised and responded to.

  • People receiving mental health services should have their individual needs (whether as to culture, language, communication, age, disability, religion, gender, sexuality or other matters) recognised and responded to.

  • Aboriginal people receiving mental health services should have their distinct culture and identity recognised and responded to.

  • Children and young people receiving mental health services should have their best interests recognised and promoted as a primary consideration, including receiving services separately from adults, whenever this is possible.

  • Children, young people and other dependents of people receiving mental health services should have their needs, wellbeing and safety recognised and protected.

  • Carers (including children) for people receiving mental health services should be involved in decisions about assessment, treatment and recovery, whenever this is possible.​

  • Carers (including children) for people receiving mental health services should have their role recognised, respected and supported.

Psychiatrists, doctors and staff at mental health services, as well as the Mental Health Tribunal, must consider these principles when deciding what happens to you.

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 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.