Mental Health Act 2014
The mental health law in Western Australia is the Mental Health Act 2014. It relates to:
- when a person can be provided with mental health treatment
- the criteria for referring a person for an examination by a psychiatrist
- when a person can be made an involuntary patient on an inpatient treatment order or a community treatment order
- how inpatient treatment orders and community treatment orders operate
- the rights of persons with mental illness and their personal support persons.
Mental Health Act 2014 resources are available to help key groups understand and apply the new law:
- mental health professionals
- referrers to mental health services
- people experiencing a mental illness
- people supporting a person with a mental illness
- non-government organisations and private psychiatric hostels
- transport officers
Mental Health Act Amendments
The Mental Health Commission (MHC) is responsible for the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the Act and the Mental Health Regulations 2015.
Following an extensive implementation program, the Act commenced on 30 November 2015. Since that time, the MHC has been in consultation with key stakeholders regarding the workability of the Act. Given the length and complexity of the Act, it was expected that there would be some issues raised that would be best addressed by way of legislative amendment rather than by an operational response. Key stakeholders consulted include the Department of Health, health service providers, the Chief Psychiatrist, the Mental Health Tribunal and the Mental Health Advocacy Service.
A range of proposed amendments to the Act and Regulations are currently under consideration by the Government. Should approval to proceed with the amendments be granted, further consultation with key stakeholders will occur, prior to seeking Government approval to draft an Amendment Bill, for introduction to Parliament.
Review of Mental Health Act
The Mental Health Commission (MHC) is currently conducting a two-year review of the Mental Health Act 2014 (the Act). This is to fulfil the requirement for a Post Implementation Review (PIR) that is required to be submitted to the Better Regulation Unit (BRU), formerly the Regulatory Gatekeeping Unit, within the Department of Treasury, by 30 November 2017, two years after the commencement of the Act. On 16 November 2017, the BRU approved a four-month extension to the due date for submission of the PIR, now due by 30 March 2018.
The extended due date will enable the MHC to incorporate data from the 2016-2017 financial year, which will provide a more complete review of the operation of the Act to 30 June 2017, being 19 months post-implementation. Importantly, it will also allow further consultation with those stakeholders with a role and responsibilities under the Act, who may be impacted by recommendations contained within the PIR report.
The PIR focuses on whether the Objects, set out in Part 3 of the Act, are being achieved. In undertaking the PIR, the MHC has consulted extensively with a wide range of stakeholders, including government and non-government agencies, peak bodies, advisory groups, mental health clinicians and staff and organisations representing consumers, families and carers. An online survey was also released to obtain direct feedback from consumers, families and carers regarding the experiences of consumers and personal support persons under the Act. The survey was distributed through the MHC Engagement Network and also with assistance from organisations representing this cohort.
The MHC is currently finalising the draft PIR report and will undertake further consultation with relevant stakeholders prior to submission of the PIR report to the BRU.
The results of the PIR will assist in informing the future statutory review, which is due to be commenced as soon as practicable after 30 November 2020. The statutory review will be broader in scope, focusing on the overall operation and effectiveness of the Act.