A ‘designated mental health Formal delivery of legal documents to a person to tell them there are court proceedings against them which they must defend, or to make sure a witness in a case knows when they have to go to court to give evidence.’ is defined in section 3 of the MHA 2014 to mean a prescribed public hospital, health service or other hospital within the meaning of section 3(1) of the Health Services A written law made by parliament. Also called an ‘Act of parliament’, ‘statute’ or legislation. 1988 (Vic), or the Victorian Institute of Forensic Mental Health (‘Forensicare’).
At the time of writing (1 July 2020), only the public hospitals and public health services that have psychiatric facilities in Victoria have been so prescribed. No private hospitals have been prescribed and therefore a person may only receive treatment there voluntarily.
‘Mental health service providers’ are defined (at s 3) to include either a designated mental health service or a publicly funded mental health community support service, such as psychiatric disability rehabilitation and support services that provide non-clinical support.
At least one authorised psychiatrist must be appointed at each designated mental health service (s 150). The authorised psychiatrist is effectively responsible for the person’s treatment in accordance with the MHA 2014.
Services in the community
Community based mental health services The first step in agreeing to make a legally binding agreement. An offer must be accepted before there can be a legally enforceable contract. For example, a person can offer to sell their car for $5000 and a buyer can accept the offer and pay that purchase price. services to people who have a mental illness, including those who have been in psychiatric inpatient services. Each designated mental health service has a crisis assessment and treatment team that deals with urgent situations, and some have other teams, such as a mobile support team for clients who are unable to access their local mental health service. The members of these teams are usually doctors or psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses and social workers or psychologists.
Inpatient services provide short-term and long-term care and treatment for people who may not be able to be treated successfully in the community. Most of Melbourne’s large metropolitan hospitals have a specialised psychiatric inpatient facility. In addition, there are a number of specialised units such as mother and baby units, eating disorder units, psycho-geriatric facilities and the Thomas Embling forensic hospital.
Consumer and community managed services
A number of government and non-government services provide assistance for people with a mental illness in Victoria. They offer services including accommodation, counselling, support for relatives and friends, advocacy and self-help, and day centres.
The Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) service is particularly relevant for compulsory patients. It is a free, confidential and independent service that supports people who are receiving compulsory treatment to make decisions and to have as much say as possible about their assessment, treatment and recovery.
More information about relevant services can be obtained from Mental Health Victoria and the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (see ‘Contacts’ at the end of this chapter).
Community Visitors Program
The Community Visitors Program is run by the Office of the Public Advocate. Community Visitors are volunteers who are empowered under the MHA 2014 (pt 9) to inquire into the adequacy and standards of services and facilities. Community Visitors can inspect premises and documents, make inquiries and investigate complaints (see https://www.publicadvocate.vic.gov.au/our-services/community-visitors).