The Tasmanian Liberal Government is strengthening mental health services and supports in Tasmania with the passing of the Mental Health Amendment Bill 2022 through the Legislative Council, following a review of the Act.
The Mental Health Act 2013 establishes a rights-based framework for the compulsory assessment and treatment of people with severe mental illness.
The Mental Health Amendment Bill 2022 will make the Act easier to understand, more contemporary, and further strengthen patient rights.
The Bill amends and clarifies provisions of the Act that improves its operation and the efficient delivery of mental health services, including:
- The harmonisation of the Principles and Rights for patients, ensuring they remain contemporary and easy to interpret and apply in a mental health services setting;
- Stronger support and protection for children and young people who are either assessed as needing mental health treatment and care or who are dependent on an adult who needs such care;
- Changes to strengthen the role of the Official Visitors Program so that a child can make a complaint to an Official Visitor, regardless of whether they have the consent of a parent or guardian, and that the functions of an Official Visitor include checking that providers comply with additional requirements under the Act;
- Changes to seclusion, restraint and Urgent Circumstances Treatment to ensure that they are applied only as a last resort and are only used for as long as necessary; and
- The simplification and streamlining of processes by removing unnecessary bureaucratic processes.
Premier and Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Jeremy Rockliff, said the passing of the Bill represents the Tasmanian Liberal Government’s commitment to ensuring mental health legislation is contemporary and fit-for-purpose, with a strong focus on respecting, recognising and upholding the rights of patients.
“These amendments are fundamental and important changes to mental health legislation that will improve the experience of Tasmanian involuntary mental health patients receiving assessment, treatment and care under the Mental Health Act,” the Premier said.
“It means that more Tasmanians can get the right care, in the right place, at the right time.
“I thank the consumers, carers, families and friends involved for their time, passion and invaluable input to the development of these important amendments. Their expertise and voice provide us with vital insights into the challenges that can be experienced.”
The passage of the Bill follows significant consultation with stakeholders and, importantly, people with lived experience.
Consultation included both consumers and carers, families and friends through not only the consultation process, but also participating in the project steering committee, legislative working group, and the forms and documentation working group.