The Mental Health and Wellbeing Act outlines how services are to communicate and provide treatment to people with mental illness, as well as a person's rights to make decisions about their care.
The Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 replaced the Mental Health Act 2014 as of 1 September 2023.
The Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 (the Act) promotes good mental health and wellbeing for all Victorians.
It has new rights-based principles that promote the values, preferences and views of Victorians with mental illness or psychological distress. The new principles guide how service providers should deliver assessment, treatment, care and support.
The 2022 Act has also strengthened safeguards that align with the dignity and autonomy principle.
Treatment with dignity and autonomy
The Act promotes voluntary treatment in preference to compulsory treatment wherever possible.
It requires that mental health and wellbeing services are provided to a person living with mental illness or psychological distress with the least possible restriction of their rights, dignity and autonomy with the aim of promoting their recovery and full participation in community life.
Communication about treatment and rights
The Act includes requirements to promote and assist communication between practitioners and people with mental illness and their families, carers and supporters.
These measures support people receiving mental health and wellbeing services to understand their rights and make decisions about their assessment, treatment and care.
Decisions about care
The Act introduces new rights based decision-making principles for treatment and interventions. Decision makers must give ‘proper consideration’ to these principles when exercising a power or making a decision about a person’s assessment, treatment and care.
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
Find out more about the mental health and wellbeing principles.