Soon for the first time, all people receiving compulsory mental health treatment in Victoria will have access to support to help them understand their rights and have as much say as possible on their assessment, treatment and recovery.
From today, they can also choose not to be contacted.
Tell Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) not to contact you by:
How does IMHA support you?
IMHA can support you to:
- understand information about your assessment, treatment, care and recovery
- make decisions about your assessment, treatment and care
- understand and exercise your rights
- make an advance statement of preferences
- appoint a nominated support person
- seek a second psychiatric opinion
- seek legal advice
- apply to the Mental Health Tribunal
- understand and access the mental health and wellbeing service system
- express your decisions, views and preferences to your mental health and wellbeing services and others
- make a complaint.
With a consumer’s consent, IMHA advocates can represent their views to their mental health service on their behalf.
What is changing?
From September, IMHA will contact everyone on a compulsory mental health order to offer free support and advocacy.
Earlier this year, IMHA was named Victoria’s primary provider of non-legal mental health advocacy services under the new Act.
IMHA has been providing non legal advocacy services statewide since 2015, with teams currently based in Geelong, Melbourne, Bendigo and Dandenong.
This means that from 1 September 2023, IMHA will automatically be notified at key points whenever someone in Victoria receives compulsory mental health treatment, unless they have told IMHA not to contact them ahead of time.
By law, IMHA will maintain the opt-out register to ensure the preferences of people who don’t want to be contacted are respected.
Only necessary identification details will be retained.
People can opt out after 1 September as well, and this will be an option discussed with consumers when the IMHA advocate calls them.
Each year, IMHA provides thousands of information and referral services, and directly advocates on behalf of consumers or supports their self-advocacy to ensure their voices are heard.
In 2021–22, that included more than 25,000 information and referral sessions and more than 13,000 instances of advocacy or self-advocacy support.
When will IMHA be notified?
IMHA will be notified if:
- you are placed on a temporary treatment order, or a treatment order, including if you are a forensic or security patient
- your temporary treatment order, or treatment order, has been varied from community to inpatient or inpatient to community
- your temporary treatment order, or treatment order, has been revoked or cancelled
- you have a Mental Health Tribunal hearing scheduled
- a restrictive intervention is used, such as if you are put in seclusion, or are physically or chemically restrained
- your order is varied to transfer you for treatment at another designated mental health service
- your right to communicate has been restricted.
If you are a security patient, IMHA will also be notified if:
- you are received at, or transported to, a designated mental health service
- you are discharged back to prison.
If you are a forensic patient, IMHA will also be notified if:
- you are transported to a designated mental health service, except if the Forensic Leave Panel approves the transport or is otherwise directed by an authorised body
- your psychiatrist or the chief psychiatrist directs you to be transported to another designated mental health service
- Forensicare applies to the Mental Health Tribunal for an intensive monitored supervision order, if and when this order is made.
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Big changes are happening.
From September, everyone receiving compulsory mental health treatment will be contacted by @IMHAvic offering free support & help to understand their rights.
Big changes are happening.
From September, IMHA will offer free support to everyone receiving compulsory mental health treatment in Victoria so they can understand and exercise their rights.
But you can tell IMHA now if you don’t want to be contacted by:
You only need to do this once. You can change your mind at any time to get IMHA support.
From September, anyone receiving compulsory mental health treatment in Victoria will be offered help and support to understand and exercise their rights.
Advocacy support for everyone on compulsory treatment is one of the critical changes to be introduced through the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 (Vic) and was a key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.
IMHA has been named Victoria’s first ever primary provider of non-legal mental health advocacy services under the Act, ensuring everyone on a compulsory treatment order can have as much say as possible about their assessment, treatment and recovery. IMHA will continue to provide services to consumers who are concerned they may have compulsory treatment, carers, kin, support people and services.
IMHA has been providing this free and independent service since 2015.
Reviewed 03 August 2023