Things you didn't know about our mental health services

Things you didn't know about our mental health services

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Yes we can help you with your legal problems if you have a mental illness

Yes, we can help you with your legal problems if you have a mental health issue

More than a quarter of our clients have told us they have mental health issues or a disability.

People in this situation also make up 28 per cent of our clients who are homeless and more than 35 per cent of those who are trying to make ends meet on a government pension or benefit.

It can be tough trying to sort out your legal problems. We can help you with fines, Centrelink payments, debt, housing, discrimination, family law or police matters or refer you to other services who can assist.

Find out more about your rights, learn about our services and how we have helped others over the past year or ring the Legal Help Line on 1300 792 387 weekdays during business hours for free information about the law and how we can help you.

Getting help if you are subject to compulsory mental health treatment

Worried about a mental health tribunal hearing? Find out how to have a say about compulsory mental health treatment
 

Our specialist mental health legal team can provide advice and may be able to represent you at the Mental Health Tribunal.

Find out:

Call our Legal Help Line on 1300 792 387 weekdays during business hours to find out if you are eligible for our help.

Find an advocate to help you have your say

Our Independent Mental Health Advocacy service now assists people who are subject to compulsory mental health treatment. We provide services 34 units in all designated mental health services across Victoria.

Our independent advocates can:

  • listen to what you want and talk to you about your options
  • give you information and support to act on your rights
  • work with you so you can have your say
  • refer you to other services if you need.

Our service is independent, free and confidential.

Contact an advocate on 1300 947 820 between 9.30am and 4.30pm weekdays or email contact@imha.vic.gov.au.

More information

Find out about your rights and discover what our Independent Mental Health Advocacy service has done in its first year.

Many people are still not legally represented at their Mental Health Tribunal hearing

The justice gap

It is difficult for a person to assert their rights if they are not aware of them, don’t know how they can be upheld or are not supported to exercise them.

Victoria has the highest rate of community treatment orders responding to mental health issues in the world.

In New York and the United Kingdom, almost everyone subject to mental health laws gets representation.

In Victoria, legal representation before the Tribunal has increased significantly in recent years because of Victoria Legal Aid’s expanded mental health and disability law program, but it still sits at just 18 per cent compared to 77 per cent in NSW.

While 34 per cent of people facing inpatient orders in Victoria receive representation, only six per cent receive representation where the tribunal is considering ordering compulsory treatment in the community and eight per cent are represented for applications for electroconvulsive treatment without their consent.

The rest are left to represent themselves in hearings that determine whether they will be subject to medical treatment against their will.