The Ministry has revised the guidance to the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992 (the Act), outlining the rights of compulsory mental health consumers and the obligations of mental health clinicians. This guidance is intended to support the effective and lawful use of the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992. They are written mainly for clinical staff, district inspectors and any other parties who administer or work within the legal or clinical framework of the Mental Health Act. Families and whānau, service users and tāngata whai ora, and members of the public may also find these guidelines useful.
A number of key changes and emerging issues have been signalled in the revision of these Guidelines. In particular:
- the growing influence of rights-based approaches and how these can be better promoted within the parameters of the current Mental Health Act
- the need to give greater emphasis to our obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi
- the impact of He Ara Oranga and, in particular, the feedback from people with lived experience and families and whānau on how they experience the current administration of the Mental Health Act.
- updates with regard to the passing of the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Amendment Act 2021 (MH(CAT) Amendment Act 2021).
Please also read the companion document to these guidelines, Human Rights and the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, which offers guidance to thinking about and applying a human rights approach and supported decision-making when implementing the Act.