Get help with mental health and your rights

Get help with mental health and your rights

Call us for free information about the law and how we can help you with your mental health legal problem.

Phone 1300 792 387, Monday to Friday from 8.45 am to 5.15 pm.

If you need an interpreter let us know.

Our lawyers regularly visit the mental health inpatient units of hospitals in Melbourne, Bendigo, Dandenong and Geelong.

Our other free legal services include:

For some matters we can provide you with a lawyer to help you run your case.

We also have a range of mental health and disability resources that can help you, including:

Independent Mental Health Advocacy

If you are on a compulsory treatment order advocates from Independent Mental Health Advocacy can support you to have your say about your assessment, treatment and recovery. They will:

  • 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 as needed.

Find out how you can get support. This service is independent, free and confidential.

Other organisations that can help

Legal services

Your local community legal centre can give you legal information and advice. Most services are free.

The Law Institute of Victoria can refer you to a private lawyer who can give you legal advice and represent you in court.

You can also find a private lawyer near you through the Law Institute of Victoria’s Legal Referral Service. All law firms included in the Legal Referral Service provide a free 30-minute interview. If you book an interview, write your questions down beforehand, so you get as much out of the free 30 minutes as possible. If you discuss getting further help from the lawyer, make sure you know how much it will cost.

Mental health and referral services

The Department of Health is responsible for publicly funded mental health services, and also provides a list of mental health service providers, who can provide advice and referral information.

The Victorian Government Health Information website has booklets in English and other languages about patients’ rights that cover:

  • involuntary patients
  • restricted treatment orders
  • security patients
  • electroconvulsive therapy
  • major non-psychiatric treatment
  • non-custodial supervision orders.

Review of compulsory treatment orders

The Mental Health Tribunal is an independent tribunal that makes decisions about compulsory treatment orders and electroconvulsive treatment (ECT). It hears applications by authorised psychiatrists to make orders and applications seeking revocation (cancellation) of orders.

The Mental Health Tribunal also has a range of publications and forms.

Guardianship and administration orders

The Office of the Public Advocate is an independent statutory office, working to promote the interests, rights and dignity of Victorians with a disability. It provides advice about advocacy, guardianship, powers of attorney (including enduring guardianship) and consent to medical and dental treatment.

The Guardianship List of the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal makes orders, such as guardianship and administration orders, for people over 18 who may not be able to make reasonable decisions about themselves, their circumstances, or their financial and legal affairs.

Complaints

The Office of the Mental Health Commissioner is a dedicated specialist complaints body which investigates and endeavours to resolve complaints about publicly funded mental health service providers.

The Office of the Health Services Commissioner helps people with concerns about their health service providers, including privacy of health information.

The Victorian Ombudsman enquires into or investigates administrative actions taken by:

  • a government department
  • a public statutory body
  • any member of staff of a municipal council.

If you have not been treated fairly by the police you can make a complaint about police.

You can also make a complaint about harassment or discrimination, if this has happened to you.

Support services

Other services that may be able to help you are: