Statutory Review of the Mental Health Act 2014
The Mental Health Act 2014 (the Act) provides for the treatment, care, support and protection of people who have a mental illness; the protection of the rights of people who have a mental illness; and the recognition of the role of families and carers in providing the best possible care and support to people who have a mental illness, in the least restrictive environment.
Under section 587 of the Act, the Minister for Mental Health is required to undertake a review of the operation and effectiveness of the Act as soon as is practicable five years after its commencement (the Act came into operation on 30 November 2015). In addition, the Minister is required to prepare a report about the outcomes of the Review and table that report in Parliament.
As the agency principally responsible for assisting the Minister in administering the Act, the Mental Health Commission was tasked with conducting the Review. A Steering Group was also established to oversee and guide the Review process and contribute to the report.
The objectives of the Review are to:
- identify elements of the Act that work well;
- identify opportunities where the Act could be improved; and
- make recommendations to the Minister and Parliament.
The Mental Health Commission is reviewing the Mental Health Act 2014 and undertook a six-month public consultation to obtain feedback to help inform the Review.
The Review took a mixed-methods approach which included:
The Mental Health Commission undertook a six-month public comment period, supported by the release of a Discussion Paper, which opened on 13 August 2021 and closed on 31 January 2022.
The Discussion Paper outlined a series of issues and proposed amendments that had been raised with the Mental Health Commission since the Act came into effect in November 2015. Public comment was invited on the previously proposed amendments and issues as well as any other part of the Act.
The Commission heard from people who:
- Have received treatment under the Act;
- Have supported someone who received treatment under the Act;
- Work in the mental health sector, including as an advocate or volunteer;
- Have feedback about the operation and effectiveness of the Act.
Extracts of the discussion paper are below:
- Invitation to comment
- Tips for preparing your submission
- Chapter 2: Summary of the Mental Health Act (2014)
- Chapter 3: Previously Identified Issues
- Chapter 4: Previously Proposed Amendments
Community grants process
The Mental Health Commission coordinated a community grants process, through which organisations received grants from the Mental Health Commission for the purpose of conducting engagement sessions with consumers, carers and families across Western Australia.
The Review considered a range of publicly available information and documents relevant to the operation and effectiveness of the Act. This included a review of mental health legislation in comparable jurisdictions, along with any recently published statutory reviews or Royal Commission reports in those jurisdictions.
Informed by the consultation process, the Mental Health Commission and Steering Group identified four key themes which required further investigation to inform the Review. The Mental Health Commission engaged researchers who completed the following literature reviews on these key themes:
Statutory Review of the Mental Health Act 2014: Literature Review of Advance Health Directives
Authors: Assoc. Professor Meredith Blake, Ms Eleni Kannis
Protection of Rights in Mental Health Law
Authors: Associate Professor Chris Maylea, Dr Piers Gooding, Ms Vrinda Edan
Legislation and other approaches to reduce seclusion and restraint in adult inpatient mental health services: a systematic mapping review
Authors: Richard Gray, Nompilo Moyo, Lisa Brophy, Chris Maylea, Tessa-May Zirnsak
Supported Decision Making in Mental Health: A Literature Review
Author: Consumers of Mental Health WA
Please note that these reports were independently undertaken by the authors. Therefore, the content has contributed to the wider Mental Health Act 2014 Statutory Review process, however, does not necessarily reflect the views or position of the WA Government or the Mental Health Commission.
Complex issues workshops
Workshops were undertaken between August and September 2022 to further investigate several complex issues identified through the Review Process.
The workshops included a diverse range of government and non-government stakeholders, including people with lived experience and those who administer and work within the Act’s legislative framework.
All information gathered through the Review Process has been analysed and a draft report with recommendations is currently being finalised.
Last updated: 10 January 2023