Demystifying the legal process surrounding compulsory mental health treatment

March 4th 2021

Congratulations to North West Area Mental Health Service which recently won a Mental Health Services award! Winners were recognised for their contribution to addressing mental health issues across Australia and New Zealand.

About the award-winning program

Part of the program ‘Steering the Public Mental Health Sector Towards Recovery Using a Human Rights framework’ included a video on the rights of compulsory patients, produced with the support of a Victoria Law Foundation Small Grant in 2017. It aims to demystify the legal process surrounding compulsory treatment, empower consumers and increase their participation in their own treatment.

The video was designed and developed with consumers to ensure that the language used was consumer friendly and met their need for information if detained under the Mental Health Act 2014.

"Consumer feedback consistently shows that compulsory treatment can be traumatizing. But a rights focus can mitigate the challenges related to this. The funding from Victoria Law Foundation enabled us to improve understanding among consumers and families of their rights within the mental health system.” - Joy Barrowman, North West Area Mental Health Service.

The funded video is part of the work the service is doing with staff, consumers and carers to foster an understanding of rights and responsibilities and ultimately promote the autonomy and dignity of people with mental illness.