Victoria’s Mental Health Act outlines how services are to provide both voluntary and compulsory treatment to people experiencing significant mental illness.

The Mental Health Act 2014 (the Act) establishes multiple safeguards and oversights to:

  • Protect people's rights, dignity and autonomy
  • Support them to make, participate in and express their recovery choices

While voluntary treatment is always preferred, the Act also prescribes rights and criteria for people receiving compulsory mental health treatment in the exceptional event they are unable to make treatment decisions for a period of time.

The Act requires mental health practitioners to place people with a mental illness at the centre of any decisions made about their treatment and care by:

  • Developing and maintaining strong relationships with people using mental health services
  • Using effective communication and providing people with information and support to help them make informed choices about their care
  • Supporting consumers, their family and carers to participate in treatment decisions and to have their views and preferences considered and respected

Core principles and objectives of the Act

Several core principles and objectives underpin the Act, including:

  • Assessment and treatment within mental health services are provided in the least intrusive and restrictive way
  • People are supported to make and participate in decisions about their assessment, treatment and recovery
  • The rights, dignity and autonomy of people accessing services are protected and promoted at all times
  • Priority is given to care and support that are holistic and responsive to individual needs
  • The wellbeing and safety of children and young people are protected and prioritised
  • Carers are recognised and supported in decisions about treatment and care

Links & documents

Health.vic: Mental Health Act 2014 Handbook
This handbook provides a general overview of the legislation, as well as information and procedures clinicians need to comply with the Act.
Health.vic: Mental Health Act 2014
About the purpose and principles of the Act.
Health.vic: Advance statements
An advance statement sets out a person’s treatment preferences in case they become unwell and need compulsory mental health treatment.
Health.vic: Nominated persons
A consumer can nominate a person to receive information and to support them if they require compulsory mental health treatment.
Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)
Independent, free and confidential service providing information about rights and advocacy to people receiving compulsory assessment or treatment.
Related pages
Last updated 02 November 2022