Commencement of Mental Health Act begins a new chapter for those living with mental illness

Released 01/03/2016

The new Mental Health Act 2015 has come into in effect, giving those in the ACT living with mental illness greater opportunities to contribute to decisions on their treatment, care and support, Minister for Health Simon Corbell announced today.

Mr Corbell said the new Act would create a fresh approach to service delivery and make the ACT’s mental health legislation better aligned with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with a Disability and the ACT Human Rights Act.

“This new Act is not just a change in law, it is a change in culture,” Mr Corbell said.

“It’s about empowering people with a mental illness in our community to make critical decisions about their treatment, care and support to the best of their ability together with the involvement of carers, close family and friends. It is also about helping people to optimise their own recovery.

“The key principles driving the legislation create a legal environment geared toward supporting people in recovery from their illness, and providing the least restrictive care.

Through the legal strength of the Advance Agreement and Advance Consent Direction within the Act, people with a mental illness will now indicate the types of treatment they would prefer if they become unwell. They can appoint a nominated person to help them express their views and advocate on their behalf if they are unable to advocate for themselves, and can make provision for issues that are important to them.

“The new Act is the result of years of consultation with people with lived experience of mental illness, together with their carers and clinicians,” Mr Corbell said.

“It reflects a strong desire by those in our community who are directly affected by mental illness to take charge of their lives with more choice and control, and for those who support them to understand how best to do so. This includes providing information in a way that is accessible to them.

“Since the legislation was passed in the ACT Legislative Assembly in September last year, we have been working with service providers and other stakeholders to support them through the implementation phase of the new Act. This has included a webinar, information sessions, and specialised training for mental health clinicians.

“With the ongoing implementation of the new Act, we will continue to support service providers and other stakeholders in their provision of high standard, professional treatment and care to people experiencing a mental illness or a mental disorder.

The Mental Health Bill 2015, which was passed in the ACT legislative Assembly in September 2015, has been combined with the Mental Health Treatment and Care Amendment Act 2014 to create the new Mental Health Act 2015.

For more information on the new Act go to

To view the Mental Health Act 2015 go to the ACT Legislation website at

- Statement ends -

Section: Simon Corbell, MLA | Media Releases

Media Contacts

Name Phone Mobile Email

Andrew Benson



John Gray

6205 9627

0434 665 665

Kathryn Conroy

6205 9854

0416 428 678

«ACT Government Media Releases | «Minister Media Releases