Tasmania’s Mental Health Act Review

Hello my name is Aaron Groves and I am Tasmania’s Chief Psychiatrist Today I want to talk to you about how you can give feedback on Tasmania’s Mental Health Act Tasmania’s Mental Health Act was developed over many years When the current Act started on 17 February 2014 it was rightly thought to represent a significant reform in how people who live with severe mental illness are assessed and treated Tasmania was the first place in Australia and New Zealand and only one of a few places in the world to make a person’s capacity to make decisions a threshold issue for compulsory treatment The Tasmanian Parliament recognised this and included a requirement that the Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing reviews the Act’s operation after six years I have been asked to lead the review on behalf of the Minister and that’s why I am speaking to you today The Act has fundamentally changed how people who live with severe mental illness are assessed and treated in Tasmania These changes not only had an impact for clinicians and the Mental Health Tribunal but also for consumers, family members, friends and carers This review is an important way for Government to ensure the Act is working as originally intended The Act has been operational for five and a half years There were some early teething problems and the Act was amended in 2017 to address these problems There have also been additional minor and technical amendments along the way It’s important that we hear from people with lived experience of the Act such as those who live with mental illness, family members, friends and carers We also want to hear from doctors, nurses and other health professionals who work with the Act every day as well This is your chance to share what you think The Act was developed to promote a consumer-centred approach and improve the protections available for people who live with mental illness in Tasmania It was drafted to balance the ability for people with capacity to make their own treatment choices while enabling treatment to be given to people who lack decision-making capacity when that is required The Act also tries to balance consumer rights with the important role played by families, friends and carers of people who live with mental illness We are interested in hearing whether you think that the Act does these things and how well it does them We know that act will review will highlight parts of the Act that could be improved For example doctors often say that they spend a lot of time completing forms and the Act should be amended to reduce this It’s likely that this feedback will come through to us again and that’s important If people have suggestions for how the Act could be amended we’d love to hear your ideas but this is something we will consider later in 2020 or in 2021. So how can you contribute? A consultation document will be available soon The document explains the Act’s provisions and asks questions about how well they are operating People can choose to answer any or all of these questions Alternatively you can make a written submission if you like We’re working closely with groups who represent the views of consumers, carers, clinicians and others if you prefer you can provide feedback through these groups We’ll provide information about how to access the consultation document closing dates and organisations’ contact details for feedback very shortly We look forward to hearing from your views on the Act’s operation Thank you for listening

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