Examinations and assessments
The Act promotes the voluntary engagement of people in mental health assessment, treatment and care wherever possible. When it is not possible to provide the required assessment with consent (i.e. consent given by the person or another person authorised to consent on their behalf) the involuntary processes in the Act may be applied.
Policy: Examination and assessment
Fact sheet: Examination and assessment
Video: Examination and assessment
The involuntary process usually commences with a Recommendation for Assessment however, in some circumstances, the Recommendation for Assessment is preceded by an examination authorised under another process such as an Examination Authority or an Emergency Examination Authority.
An application may be made to the Mental Health Review Tribunal for an Examination Authority where all reasonable efforts have been made to engage a person in a voluntary examination of their mental health and there is, or may be, serious risk of harm or worsening health.
An application to the Tribunal may be made by:
- an authorised person at an authorised mental health service (AMHS), or
- a concerned person
- family member
- colleague, or
- other member of the community who has concerns about the person.
If made by a concerned person, a written statement by a doctor (e.g. general practitioner) or authorised mental health practitioner (of an AMHS) is required with the application.
The Examination Authority authorises a doctor or authorised mental health practitioner to examine the person to determine whether a Recommendation for Assessment should be made. The Examination Authority is valid for seven days for the examination to occur.
The examination may occur in the person’s home or the person may be transferred to an authorised mental health service.
Policy: Examination authorities
Fact sheet: Examination authorities
Form: Application for Examination Authority - Available from the MHRT website
Form: Outcome of Examination Under an Examination Authority
Emergency Examination Authority
In emergency circumstances, a police or ambulance officer can make an Emergency Examination Authority (EEA) if the officer believes a person is at immediate risk of serious harm, such as threatening suicide, and the risk appears to be the result of a major disturbance in the person's mental capacity.
This could be caused by an illness, disability, an injury, intoxication or any other reason.
There is no presumption that the person subject to the EEA has an underlying mental illness. For this reason, an EEA is made under the Public Health Act 2005. This ensures that the Mental Health Act captures only those persons within its intended scope and that appropriate treatment and care is provided following an examination.
Further information and resources is accessible via the Queensland Health website on Emergency Examination Authorities.
Fact sheet: Emergency examination authorities
Form: Emergency Examination Authority - Available from the Public Health Act website
A Judicial Order is an order made by a Court authorising the detention of a person in an authorised mental health service and generally, authorises the examination of the person by an authorised doctor or practitioner.
A Judicial Order does not authorise involuntary treatment.
Made by a Magistrate for a person charged with a simple offence, if they are concerned about the mental condition of the person.
FAQ: Examination Orders
Form: Examination Order
Form: Examination Report
Court Examination Order
Ordered by the Mental Health Court for examination of a person whose matter has been referred to the Court. The examining practitioner provides the written report back to the Court.
Form: Examination Report
When considering involuntary mental health treatment for a person, the clinician must be satisfied that all treatment criteria are met and there is no less restrictive way for the person to receive treatment for their mental illness, for example, there is no Advance Health Directive or substitute decision maker available.
In this case a Recommendation for Assessment can be made by the doctor or authorised mental health practitioner who completed the initial mental health examination.
Recommendation for Assessment
The purpose of the assessment is to decide whether a Treatment Authority should be made so that the necessary treatment and care can be provided to the person during the period when they do not have capacity to consent to the treatment.
Wherever possible, mental health assessments and treatment are provided in the community and preferably in the person’s home.
Visit the Treatment and care page for more information about capacity to consent, ‘Less Restrictive Way’, Treatment Authorities and other treatment and care provisions under the Act.