Having control over your treatment

Having control over your treatment

Under the Mental Health Act 2014 you have the right to be involved in all decisions about your assessment, treatment and recovery. You should also be supported in making or participating in those decisions. Your views and preferences should be respected.

You can also have some control over your treatment if you:

  • make an advanced statement that sets out your treatment preferences
  • nominate a person to help represent your interests.

Advance statements

Making an advance statement is one way for you to have some control over your treatment. An advance statement sets out what your preferences are for treatment, if you become so unwell that you require compulsory treatment.

You can make an advance statement at any time. It must be:

  • a written statement
  • signed and dated by you
  • witnessed by an ‘authorised witness’.

The authorised witness must include a statement that you understand the statement and the consequences of making it. The authorised witness can be a:

  • registered medical practitioner
  • mental health practitioner
  • a person authorised to witness statutory declarations.

The Department of Justice has a list of who can witness statutory declarations.

Effect of advance statement

Whenever a different type of treatment is being considered for a person, if they have an advance statement then this must be considered by the treating practitioner.

If your preferred treatment is not clinically appropriate or not ordinarily provided by the mental health service you are being treated by, then your advance statement may not be followed.

If this happens, you can ask for written reasons, and must be given these within 10 days of asking.

Cancelling or changing an advance statement

You can revoke (cancel) your advance statement in writing at any time. You must sign and date it and have it witnessed by an authorised witness. They must include a written statement that you understand the consequences of revoking the statement.

Or you can make a new advance statement. This new advance statement has the effect of revoking the previous statement.

If you change your mind, you are not able to amend an advance statement. You must make a new statement.

Nominated person

A nominated person is somebody who you nominate (name) to receive information and support you while you are receiving treatment as a compulsory patient under the Mental Health Act 2014.

Role of the nominated person

The nominated person must be consulted about treatment and can:

  • support you
  • help represent your interests
  • receive information
  • help you to exercise any of your rights under the Act.

Nominating a person

The nomination must:

  • be in writing
  • signed and dated by you
  • give the name and contact details of the person you wish to nominate
  • include a statement signed by the nominated person that they agree to be nominated
  • be witnessed by an authorised witness.

The authorised witness must make a statement that you understand the nomination and the consequences of making the nomination. The authorised witness can be a:

  • registered mental health practitioner
  • mental health practitioner
  • person authorised to witness statutory declarations.

The Department of Justice has a list of who can witness statutory declarations.

Cancelling your nomination

You can revoke (cancel) a nomination at any time in writing.

You must sign and date the revocation. The revocation must be witnessed by an authorised witness. The witness must include a written statement that you understand the consequences of revoking the nomination or that you can make a new nomination or that the person you have nominated declines to act as your nominated person.

What you must consider when making a nomination

You must think about who is the best person to assist you. The person you ask must be willing, available and able to undertake the duties and responsibilities of the role.

More information

The Mental Health Act sets out the rights of people receiving mental health services, which must be considered by those providing those mental health services.

Read more about the rights of people receiving compulsory treatment.

Get help

Find out how you can get help with mental health and your rights.