About the Mental Health Act 2016
On this page:
Explaining the new Act
The Mental Health Act 2016 commenced on 5 March 2017, replacing the Mental Health Act 2000.
A guide to the Mental Health Act 2016 (PDF, 673kB) 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.
Differences from the Mental Health Act 2000
The Act represents a major step forward for patient rights and will strengthen the role of family and support persons.
Consumers, clinicians, legal professionals and the wider community will all benefit from the Act's improved and simplified practices, and increased focus on patient rights and recovery.
See a comparison of key provisions (PDF 600 kB) showing the differences and similarities between the Act and the Mental Health Act 2000.
Transitional provisions in this Act aim to ensure matters transition smoothly from the Mental Health Act 2000 to the current Act. Read about the key transitional provisions (PDF 549 kB).
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.
- The principles for persons who have, or may have, a mental illness are outlined in the objects and principles fact sheet (PDF 485 kB).
- The principles for victims of an unlawful act are outlined in the support for victims fact sheet (PDF 502 kB).
You can watch the video objects and principles, and administering the Act to learn more.
Chief Psychiatrist Annual Reports
- 2016-2017 Annual Report of the Chief Psychiatrist (PDF 920 kB)
- 2015-2016 Annual Report of the Director of Mental Health (PDF 1349 kB)
- 2014-2015 Annual Report of the Director of Mental Health
- 2013-2014 Annual Report of the Director of Mental Health (PDF 1214 kB)
- 2012-2013 Annual Report of the Director of Mental Health
Please contact the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist for earlier annual reports.
Phone: 3328 9899 or free call 1800 989 451