New Mental Health Protections

New mental health legislation passed by the Tasmanian Parliament this week sees Tasmania leading the way in giving greater control to people with mental illness.

The Mental Health Bill 2012 puts the human rights of Tasmanians with mental illness at the fore and recognises the important role of family and carers.

Under current legislation, a person can be treated without consent and detained without treatment – but this has now been changed.

The new legislation is about balancing the rights of the consumer with the need for treatment.

The law now takes a human rights approach.

The new laws prevent a person with decision-making capacity from being assessed, treated or detained against their will.

While the new laws enable individuals with capacity to make their own treatment choices, it does allow for treatment to be provided to people lacking capacity if it is needed for their health and safety or the safety of others.

The new laws set out the responsibilities of clinicians while the rights of consumers and their families and carers are clearly outlined.

It also establishes a single independent Tribunal to make decisions about treatment.10 April 2013