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Our approach

How we approach advocacy

The MHAS is committed to person-centred advocacy in which mental health advocates express the wishes of the patient.

Within the context of the Mental Health Act 2014 (the Act), the MHAS is dedicated to ensuring all consumers are informed of their rights, their rights are observed and their wishes made known and had regard to.

Advocates WILL:

  • advise the person of their Rights, Options and possible Consequences (the ROC Principle) to aid decision making
  • support the consumer to express their own wishes about their situation and what they want to happen, always aiming to empower the consumer
  • respect all parties and acknowledge their diverse obligations; hearing from other parties when given permission to do so by the consumer
  • identify, consider, address or escalate systemic issues that are present or emergent.

Advocates WILL NOT:

  • adopt “best interests advocacy” except in the case of children and in accordance with Part 18 of the Act
  • counsel or befriend consumers or their personal support persons
  • provide their opinion
  • create barriers between mental health service providers and consumers
  • raise unrealistic expectations
  • speak for the consumer without prior consultation with them.

Wherever possible, the Advocate should assist the consumer to express their own needs and wishes.

Non-instructed Advocacy

Occasionally, Advocates will be required to provide non-instructed advocacy for people who are unable to fully communicate their wishes or needs. Non-instructed advocacy can be described as:

“taking affirmative action with or on behalf of a person who is unable to give a clear indication of their views or wishes in a specific situation. The non-instructed advocate seeks to uphold the person’s rights; ensure fair and equal treatment and access to services; and make certain that decisions are taken with due consideration for their unique preferences and perspectives.” (Henderson, 2006)

Ideally, in such circumstances, the Advocate will endeavour to discover the consumer’s likes, dislikes, interests and needs before providing advocacy. However, where this is not possible, Advocates will advocate from the perspective of what is fair and equitable when compared to the services provided to others in their situation so as to ensure that their rights are upheld.

Under the Act, advocacy for children should take into account the wishes of the child in so far as these can be discerned but must have as its primary concern “the best interest of the child”.

Systemic Advocacy

We provide a systemic overview of services from an advocacy stance and promote compliance with the Act and “Charter of Mental Health Care Principles.”

The Mental Health Act 2014 (the Act) is built around the 15 principles described in the Charter of Mental Health Care Principles. This provides a comprehensive set of expectations patients can have when receiving mental health service care and treatment.

To view an extract of the Charter of Health Care Principles extracted from the Mental Health Act 2014 click below.

Charter-of-Mental-Health-Care-Principles-extract