About the Mental Health Act 2016

On this page:

Explaining the Act

A guide to the Mental Health Act 2016 has been developed to help you understand the Act. The guide summarises key areas of the Act and provides references for those who want to refer to the legislation for a more detailed understanding.

You can also read the overview resources and watch the introduction to the Act video, which explain the key features and provisions of the Act.

Objects and principles

The Mental Health Act 2016 has 3 main objects:

  • to improve and maintain the health and wellbeing of persons who have a mental illness who do not have the capacity to consent to be treated
  • to enable persons to be diverted from the criminal justice system if found to have been of unsound mind at the time of committing an unlawful act or to be unfit for trial
  • to protect the community if persons diverted from the criminal justice system may be at risk of harming others.

The Mental Health Act 2016 is built around two sets of principles - one set applies to persons who have, or may have, a mental illness and the other applies to victims of an unlawful act.

You can watch the video objects and principles, and administering the Act to learn more.

Evaluation of the Mental Health Act 2016 implementation

The Mental Health Act 2016 introduced major reforms requiring significant implementation efforts to prepare the mental health sector and relevant organisations for its commencement in March 2017.

Due to these significant implementation efforts, a public commitment was made to undertake an evaluation of the implementation of this Act within 2 years of its commencement.

The evaluation found that this Act was effectively implemented and its new provisions are operating as intended in supporting less restrictive ways and patient rights focused treatment and care.

The evaluation also identified opportunities for improvement across 3 key themes:

  • targeted training and education
  • refined performance outcome monitoring
  • enhanced data quality and analysis.

You can learn more about the Evaluation of the Mental Health Act 2016 implementation by reading the highlights report (PDF 401 kB) or the full report (PDF 2889 kB).

Chief Psychiatrist Annual Reports

Under Section 307 of the Mental Health Act 2016 the Chief Psychiatrist is required to prepare and present an annual report to the Minister for Health and Ambulance Services. The report is tabled by the Minister in the Legislative Assembly.

The annual report details the administration of the Mental Health Act 2016 and associated activities and achievements over the financial year to inform the Minister, the Queensland Parliament and members of the public.

Prior to the introduction of the Mental Health Act 2016, the Director of Mental Health was required to prepare an annual report under the repealed Mental Health Act 2000.

For earlier annual reports, please email the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist via MHA2016@health.qld.gov.au

Last updated: 3 October 2023