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MENTAL HEALTHCARE: LEGISLATIVE STATUS IN AUSTRALIA

Author: Vritika Chanjotra, II year of B.A.,LL.B.(Hons.) from Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Punjab


Abstract

The world today is full of complexities and individuals are bound to deal with complicated circumstances. At times the daily situations might affect the physical, spiritual, or even the mental health of the people. A healthy body, mind, and soul form a vital element of an individual's life, thus, to enjoy a dignified lifestyle, it is essential to ensure a balance among these elements. Along with the individual’s responsibility to maintain a healthy living, the legislature also plays a significant role in providing the facilities that are necessities for a good physical as well as mental state.Thus, this article revolves aroundthe area of mental healthcare as it exists in Australian society and also discusses important legislation in the area of mental health concerning this westernized nation.

Keywords: Mental Health, Australia, legislations, Mental Health Act, 2014, Policies.


According to the National Survey of Mental Health conducted in 2007, 20% of Australians aged 16 to 85 had agonized a mental illness in the previous year. Mental sickness is usually defined as, "A clinically diagnosable problem that seriously impairs a person's cognitive, emotional, or social abilities". Anxiety syndromes, sentimentaldisarrays, psychotic disorders, etc. are among the disorders included by the term.This means that around half of the Australian adults are facing mental illness at some point of time in their lives, these problems are frequently overlooked and might result in a more chronic illness. Thus, it is important to spread awareness among the citizens and also provide them with good quality mental healthcare facilities at affordable charges.


Mental health illness has a huge and irreversible impact on individuals' lives, it changes the behavior as well as the personality of a person, affecting every aspect of life. Thus, mental health illnesses are not supposed to be treated just timidly, there is a need for serious awareness and steps to be taken in this respect. With respect to the provision of services to the whole population of the nation, the government is held accountable to understand the responsibility and frame a structure to ensure the necessary amenities.


Since 1959, the key developments in Australian Mental Health legislations have concerned the review processes by the legislative and statutory bodies, this has led to a more legalistic approach to view these issues.There are various policies and legislation laid down by Western Australia for the provision of facilities related to mental healthcare; such as;


It is the key legislation in Australia for Mental Healthcare problems. This act is also assisted by the Mental Health Regulations, 2015 to elucidate the stated provisions of the act in detail. The Mental Health Commission is a body for Statutory Review of the Mental Health Act (2014).The Review is away to make the Mental Health Act better for Western Australian citizens. This very act applies to specialists, people suffering from mental illness, etc.

The mental Health Act aims to:

  • To provide mental health treatment to the persons

  • Norms for check-ups by a psychiatrist

  • The rights of persons with mental illness and their support persons

  • Inpatient treatment orders and community treatment orders operate


This act has its prevalent in Western Australia for decades. The activities related to:

  • Treatment, administration, upkeep, and reintegration of the persons undergoing alcohol or other drug use issues or co-occurring health problems as well as also includes the persons who might have some mental illness.

  • Promotion of research in the education for the anticipation, lessening, and treatment of the alcohol or other drug use issue or coinciding mental health matters

  • Creating and preservingharmonized focus on these problems the redressal of mental health issues.


This act is controlled and regulated by the Attorney General, Minister for Health, Minister for Regional Health, and Minister for Mental Health.

  • This act aims to treat and support a plan of programs, services, or treatments, or any other kind of support to address the mental health care impairment or cognitive impairments of the defendant in a party matter.


National policies and plans also assist to help the citizens with an action plan set up by the government to deal with mental health issues. Some of them are stated and discussed here below:

  • The Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan - from 2017 to 2022, all governments are dedicated to taking unified mental health and suicide prevention action.

  • National Mental Health Policy – is a promise made by Australian officials to enhance Australia's mental health system.

  • Vision 2030 – shapes a public heading for an effective, associated emotional well-being and self-destruction anticipation framework to address the issues, all things considered,

  • The National Mental Health Workforce Strategy Taskforce–is fostering a methodology that to attribute, stock, appropriation, and design of Australia's emotional well-being labor force.

  • The Roadmap to National Mental Health Reform – traces the heading for state-run administrations from 2012 to 2022 to assemble a solid psychological wellness framework

  • The National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan – upholds the emotional wellness of the citizens during and after the COVID-19 crises

  • The COVID-19 National Health Plan –aims to maintainthe health of Australians through the COVID-19 pandemic

Along with the above-stated list of legislations and policies, there is a set of many other legislations which specifically deal with the need and protection of an optimal state of mental health care. Carers Recognition Act, 2004, Disability Servicers Act, 1993, Equal Opportunity Act, 1984, Health Services Act, 2016, etc. are some of them.


Moreover, there are other programs and guidelines issued by the government from time to time to ensure timely enforcement of the existing policies and legislations in the continent of Australia.