September 7, 2023

The new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022: The top five changes

From 1 September 2023, Victoria has a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Act (MHWA). The Act is the outcome of recommendations from the Royal Commission into Mental Health in Victoria.

A copy of the Act and more information is available on our Intranet as well as the Department of Health and Chief Psychiatrist website.

Associate Professor Vinay Lakra, Divisional Director of Mental Health, believes one of the main objectives is to reduce inequities in access to services. He says, “This is important, given long standing issues on equity and access.”

He lists below the top five changes which impact clinical practice:

  1. A new set of principles which govern our decision-making process.
  2. New forms
  3. Chemical restraint – The new Act legislates circumstances regarding chemical restraint and the associated notification, monitoring and reporting of chemical restraint.
  4. Changes to duration of Community Treatment Orders (CTO) – Under the new Act, the maximum duration of a CTO has been reduced from 12 to six months for all adults.
  5. Availability of non-legal mental health services with an opt – out approach.

Vinay adds, “You are expected to consider the principles in all decision making under the Act. Please familiarise yourself with them and discuss with senior colleagues where needed. Please also make sure you use the new forms for all actions related to the MHWA.”