26 September 2023

New laws to reform State’s mental health

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Victoria’s mental health system is to benefit by transformation in newly passed legislation to deliver tailored medical care to all Victorians.

Announced by the Minister for Mental Health, Gabrielle Williams, the Mental Health and Wellbeing Bill 2022 was a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health and Wellbeing System.

“The new Act will support a transformed mental health system that is integrated, contemporary and adaptable, and places lived experience at its heart,” Ms Williams said.

“It also underpins the expansion of the mental health workforce – supporting the dedicated professionals who support Victorians every day,” she said.

“It ensures people seeking care are involved in decisions about their treatment and support, as well as incorporating a statement of recognition and acknowledgement of treaty process.”

Ms Williams said the new system would be guided by people with lived experience of mental illness, “with lived experience at the centre of the new regional Mental Health and Wellbeing Boards, Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing Victoria and the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission”.

“The next important stage of reform is now set to begin with the Independent Review of compulsory mental health treatment criteria – led by Justice Shane Marshall,” the Minister said.

“The review will also investigate how mental health decision-making laws in Victoria can be aligned with other decision-making legislation,” she said.

“The Review panel will work to terms of reference developed by a group of consumers, families, carers and the mental health workforce.”

Ms Williams said a further review of the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act would take place in five to seven years, to ensure the new system was supporting Victorians.

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