NSW Government has commenced a review of the Mental Health Act 2007 (NSW)
and released a discussion paper to canvas possible changes.
current NSW Mental Health Commissioners, the Hon Rob Knowles (pictured), Dr Lynne Lane and
Mr John Feneley, have been appointed to an independent Community Consultation
Panel to lead public consultation on this review
made a comprehensive submission in response to the discussion paper in December
submission argued for changes to the Mental
Health Act to reflect the framework of the Convention on the Rights of
Persons with Disability (CRPD) and other human rights principles.
Mental Health Act should have less
reliance on coercive forms of treatment such as involuntary treatment and
detention in hospital and Community Treatment Orders, and more emphasis on
PIAC submission, A Mental Health Act for the 21st Century, reflects the need for an Act that reflects the widely accepted principle
reflected in the CRPD that people with disability should have equal rights to
others in the community.
key recommendation of the submission is that involuntary detention and treatment
in hospital are last resorts.
detention and treatment in hospital should only be considered when:
- attempts at involving a person in making decisions about their care have
- the person lacks capacity to make their own decisions about their care and
- hospitalisation in a closed environment and coercive care are justified because
of the risk of harm; and
- there are no alternative options to detention and coercive care.
A Mental Health Act for the 21st Century can be downloaded from the PIAC website.
Photo courtesy of the National Mental Health Commission.