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Mental Health Advocacy Service
 
 
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Who we can help

Mental Health Advocates can help you if you are:

  • an involuntary patient in hospital
  • someone on a Community Treatment Order (CTO)
  • someone who has been referred for examination by a psychiatrist (they must let you use a phone to call us if you are being detained)
  • a voluntary patient in hospital who is not allowed to leave because you are being detained for assessment
  • a mentally impaired accused person under the Criminal Law (Mentally Impaired Accused) Act 1996 (e.g. on a Hospital or Custody Order) and are detained in an authorised hospital or living in the community
  • a resident of a private psychiatric hostel.

If you are not sure if you are one of the above, call us anyway:

  • we may be able to help you
  • we can still tell you your rights or
  • we can refer you to someone else who can help.

Family, carers and other personal support persons can call us on your behalf and we will work with them if you consent.

From 1 January 2017, MHAS Advocates are able to assist the following people even though they are not involuntary or were not previously covered by the Mental Health Act 2014 (the Act):

  • All children (under 18 years)  in emergency departments, public or authorised hospitals who are being treated, or to whom treatment is being or proposed to be given, by a mental health service;
  • All children in community mental health services who were assisted by a MHAS Advocate while a voluntary patient or involuntary inpatient; and
  • Adults (and children) who were being assisted by a MHAS Advocate while involuntary for an issue or complaint that remains unresolved where some further action can reasonably be taken. 

A Direction by the Minister for Mental Health means that these classes of voluntary mental health patient can request assistance from an MHAS Advocate. Requests may also be made by a person who has “sufficient interest” in them such as parents, guardians and other personal support persons, and mental health ward staff. Children must be contacted within 24 hours of the request and adults within a reasonable time, but MHAS policy is 48 hours. The Advocates will have all the same powers to assist as they do with involuntary patients. 

To view a full copy of the Direction, see document below.