Reform Underway For Mental Health Legislation

NT Government

The Territory Labor Government is working to modernise mental health legislation in a way that reflects the needs of Territorians today.

Community feedback on the Exposure Draft of the Mental Health Bill will help finalise future legislation to reflect more contemporary principles, objectives and practices.

The Exposure Draft Bill provides significant reforms on how treatment and care can be provided to people who experience mental illness or disorder, to enhance their rights and participation in the treatment & recovery processes.

The scope of the Exposure Draft Bill is limited to the provision of mental health services delivered primarily through public health services and hospitals. It includes enhanced personal decision-making, new pathways for compulsory treatment with clear roles and responsibilities for health practitioners, and regulation of restrictive practices.

As a result of extensive consultation with stakeholders in 2020-2021, the Mental Health and Related Services Act was split into a civil and forensic mental health act.

Progress made to date includes the creation of the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist, works underway for a new Mental Health Inpatient Unit, a 6 bed Stabilisation, Assessment and Referral Area (SARA) and additional clinical space at Royal Darwin Hospital, as well as $3.5 million for upgrades to the inpatient mental health service.

In the $2.2 billion Health Budget 2024, in conjunction with the Australian Government, the Territory Labor Government continues to invest in Suicide Prevention Community Grants, $1.48 million for Headspace Centres for youth mental health services, $2.6 million for universal aftercare services and $3.7 million for a new Head to Head Kids Hub.

Attributable to Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Selena Uibo:

“Mental health services have evolved over the years, and so must our legislation – because Territorians deserve top quality and contemporary care.

“This consultation phase is significant to make sure we get this right. We know this legislation has taken time to review, so the extensive consultation is absolutely imperative to get this right.

“The Lawler Labor Government is investing in mental health services to work with service providers and ensure Territorians have accessible support to contemporary mental health care.”

Northern Territory Government

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