Mental Health Act 2016

Overview

The Mental Health Act 2016 governs the treatment and care of people with mental health conditions in the health system. The Act commenced on 5 March 2017 and replaces the Mental Health Act 2000. The Mental Health Act 2016 strengthens patient rights and better aligns the legislation with clinical best practice.

The main aims of the Mental Health Act 2016 are:

  • to improve and maintain the health and wellbeing of people who have a mental illness who do not have the capacity to consent to treatment.
  • to divert people from the criminal justice system if they are of unsound mind at the time of committing an unlawful act or unfit for trial
  • to protect the community.

The aims of the Act are to be achieved in a way that:

  • safeguards the rights of people
  • is least restrictive of the rights and liberties of a person who has a mental illness
  • promotes the recovery of a person who has a mental illness and their ability to live in the community.

Information can be found on the Queensland Health Mental Health page.

 

Explanation

The Mental Health Act 2016 commenced on 5 March 2017, replacing the Mental Health Act 2000.

A guide to the Mental Health Act 2016 has been developed to help you understand the Act. The guide summarises key areas of the Act and provides references for those who want to refer to the legislation for a more detailed understanding.

You can also read the overview of the new Act fact sheet and watch the introduction to the new Act video, which explain the key features and provisions of the new Act.

Translated MH resources: click here.

 

Know Your Rights

The Mental Health Act 2016 provides a legislative framework for the treatment and care of persons with a mental illness without their consent. In recognition of this, the Act contains extensive safeguards for the treatment and care of patients, including provisions which ensure the protection of patient rights.

For more information, see Patient Rights and Support webpage.

 

Independent Patient Rights Advisors (IPRA)

The Mental Health Act 2016 establishes the positions of Independent Patient Rights Advisers. A key function of these positions is to advise patients and their nominated support persons, family, carers and other support persons of their rights under the Act. The positions play a very important role in liaising between clinical teams, patients and support persons.

The Act expressly provides that Independent Patient Rights Advisers are to:

  • ensure that a patient and support persons are advised of their rights under the Act
  • help the patient and support persons to communicate to health practitioners the patient’s views, wishes and preferences about the patient’s treatment and care
  • work cooperatively with community visitors under the Public Guardian Act 2014
  • consult with clinicians and the Chief Psychiatrist on the rights of patients under this Act, the Guardianship and Administration Act 2000 and the Powers of Attorney Act 1998
  • in relation to Mental Health Review Tribunal hearings
  • advise the patient, and the patient’s support persons of the patient’s rights at the hearings, and
  • if requested, help the patient engage a representative for the hearings
  • identify whether the patient has a personal guardian or attorney and work cooperatively with the personal guardian or attorney to further the patient’s interests, and
  • advise the patient of the benefits of an advance health directive or an enduring power of attorney.

For more information see IPRA fact sheet.

 

Advanced Health Directive

The Mental Health Act 2016 promotes the use of advance health directives and treating persons in a 'less restrictive way'. Promoting the use of advance health directives and other alternatives to treatment without consent under the Act gives individuals greater control over their future healthcare, and supports consumer empowerment and patient recovery.

An adult may make an advance health directive about his or her own future healthcare. An advance health directive gives consent to the person’s treatment and care when the person is not able to make decisions for himself or herself.

An advance health directive may also include the person’s views, wishes and preferences about their future treatment and care at a time when the person is not able to make decisions for himself or herself.

Advance health directives are made under the Powers of Attorney Act 1998.

For more information – see AHD factsheet and brochure:

Print/complete the AHD form: