Collaboration • Knowledge • Leadership
There is often a misconception that the Mental Health Act or soon to be Mental Health and Wellbeing Act (MH&WA) come September 1, is for Area-based Mental Health services only. This is not the case. Particularly as we move toward a Mental Health and Wellbeing system that endeavours to create accessibility to free, local mental health care as soon as Victorians need it, reducing the need for more acute care down the track.
For those of us that work within the Community and non-acute sector of the Mental Health and Wellbeing system, we have responsibilities and obligations under the MH&WA as well. Some of these that will continue from previous legislation, some that may be novel. Being aware of our responsibilities under this Act is not a task that is intended to make our work harder. It is instead to enable use to deliver optimal care and support to those living with Mental illness and psychological distress so that they can excel in their chosen recovery journeys.
If you are someone that performs duties in connection with the provision of mental health and wellbeing services, whether you are a medical practitioner, social worker, nurse or Lived and Living Experience peer support worker, then you have a responsibility to uphold the principles of the MH&WA and ensure you are upholding the rights of the consumers you have contact with.
If we want to see a positive change in the MH&W system, then drive organisational change by enquiring about the legislative changes and having those discussions about how your workplace intends to reflect these.