The Mental Health Act 2007 came into effect on 16 November 2007, when the Mental Health Act 1990 ceased to have effect. The objects of the Act are to make provisions with respect to the care, treatment and control of mentally ill persons and mentally disordered persons and other matters relating to mental health. The current Act resulted from a review of the legislation initiated by the NSW Government and involved extensive consultations with consumers, carers and service providers. It retains many of the significant principles of the Mental Health Act 1990, builds on patient and carer rights and protections; and provides for modern models of service provision.
The Mental Health Act 2007 (the Act) was amended on 31 August 2015 following a major review of the legislation. Extensive consultations with the community and key stakeholders were conducted over a period of 18 months, and draft amendments were tested through an Expert Reference Group. Significant amendments to the Mental Health Act were passed by the NSW Parliament on 18 November 2014 and commenced on 31 August 2015.
For more information see Amendments to the Mental Health Act 2007.
Under the Mental Health Act 2007, a person can be involuntarily detained and treated if they are found to be mentally ill or mentally disordered following a mental health assessment. Where a person needs to be taken from the community to a facility for an assessment against their will, the Mental Health Act 2007 requires that they be taken to a declared mental health facility. The detention of a person in a non-declared mental health facility for the purposes of a mental health assessment or involuntary treatment is illegal. See Declared mental health facilities for more information, including the processes surrounding involuntary detention.
In March 2021, the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990 (NSW) was repealed and replaced by the Mental Health and Cognitive Impairment Forensic Provisions Act 2020.
The Mental Health and Cognitive Impairment Forensic Provisions Act 2020 (the Act) deals with people who have mental health or cognitive impairments who are in contact with the criminal justice system. The main changes to the Act in 2020 included updated language, and changes to make the forensic mental health system more efficient, transparent and clear.
For more information see:
The Guardianship Act 1987 was created to protect the legal rights of people over the age of 16 years, who have a disability which affects their capacity to make decisions. The Guardianship Act is the governing legislation for the appointment of guardians and for guardianship practice in NSW.
The Guardianship Division of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal makes decisions about people who are incapable of making their own decisions and who may require a legally appointed substitute decision maker. For more information visit https://www.ncat.nsw.gov.au/.
The NSW Carers (Recognition) Act 2010 formally recognises the important contribution carers make to the people they care for. It also places obligations on all NSW public sector agencies in relation to carers. The Act contains the NSW Carers Charter, which provides thirteen principles to guide interactions with carers.
More information regarding the Ministry of Health’s implementation can be found on Support for Carers in NSW.
The NSW Carers Charter provides 13 principles to guide interactions with carers. The Charter is at Schedule 1 of the Act.