Reflecting on the intersections between mental health and legal issues

Reflecting on the intersections between mental health and legal issues

Friday, 7 June 2019

Our recent submission to the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into the Economic Impacts of Mental Ill-health features the stories of eight people whose mental health has affected, or been affected by, their housing, employment, family and care of their children, ability to access appropriate treatment and support, and imprisonment.

These stories of our clients and consumers highlight the ways in which laws, services and systems can reduce people’s life opportunities and carry heavy personal, social and economic costs.

‘Keeping a person in the community gives people a greater chance of remaining connected to supports that are essential to their recovery and wellbeing, including housing, education, employment, health supports provided through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), community and family.’

Our submission focuses on seven areas where there is potential to improve people’s mental health, support their recovery and reduce reliance on costly, ineffective responses:  

  1. Reducing the impact of justice involvement for people experiencing mental health issues
  2. Improving responses of the child protection, family law and family violence systems to mental health
  3. Strengthening recovery focused mental health treatment and services
  4. Reforming services and systems that directly impact upon people’s mental health, including housing and evictions, social security, guardianship and administration, and fines
  5. Making the National Disability Insurance Scheme work as part of a co-ordinated, accountable system
  6. Reducing discrimination and workplace sexual harassment and promoting inclusion and social participation
  7. Recognising the benefits of early access to legal assistance as part of a community wide response to mental health.

We are pleased to see the commission focus on how people can be ‘enabled to reach their full potential in life, have purpose and meaning, and contribute to the lives of others.’

We reiterate that people with lived experience of mental health issues should shape and have influence over the process and outcomes of the commission’s inquiry. This should include processes for these consumers to contribute and be heard, and ensuring that recommendations and resulting system changes are informed by lived experience.

We are optimistic about the potential of this inquiry to take a broad look at the way in which our laws, services and systems across sectors can be improved to support people’s mental health, uphold their rights and strengthen our communities. We look forward to continuing to contribute to this important inquiry, and the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

Download our submission

More information

Read more about our contribution to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

Read the independent evaluation of our Independent Mental Health Advocacy service.  

Read more about Mental Health and your rights.

Read about our Independent Mental Health Advocaccy Service.

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