What is a declared mental health facility? 

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 involuntary assessment, the Mental Health Act 2007 requires that they be taken to a declared mental health facility. If they are found to be mentally ill or mentally disordered as a result of this assessment, they can be further detained and given involuntary mental health treatment in 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 mental health treatment is illegal.

The Mental Health Act 2007 allows the Secretary of NSW Health, by order published in the NSW Government Gazette, to declare any facility to be a declared mental health facility.

Are there different types of declared mental health facility?

The Secretary can designate classes of declared mental health facility, and the purposes for which they can be used. There are currently three classes of declared mental health facility:

  1. Mental Health Emergency Assessment Class - this class provides for the short-term detention of persons for initial assessment, immediate care and to arrange transport to an inpatient unit. All declared emergency departments fall into this class.
  2. Mental Health Assessment and Inpatient Treatment Class – this class allows for the full range of inpatient functions to be conducted. All declared mental health inpatient units and Psychiatric Emergency Care Centres fall into this class.
  3. Community or Health Care Agency Class – this class provides for the administering of community treatment orders.

For a current listing of declared mental health facilities please email MOH-MentalHealthBranch@health.nsw.gov.au indicating which of the three classes of listings you require: Emergency, Inpatient or Community.

Who can detain someone in a declared mental health facility? 

The Mental Health Act 2007 allows a range of authorised persons, including police officers, ambulance officers, clinicians and accredited persons to detain a person they believe may be mentally ill or mentally disordered in a declared mental health facility for the purpose of undergoing a mental health assessment. The Mental Health Act 2007 Guide Book. provides further information on the requirements and processes for detention and assessment.

Page Updated: Wednesday 21 August 2019
Contact page owner: Mental Health Branch