Mental health – involuntary treatment
Our Mental Health Advocacy Practice (MHAP) is a specialist legal service dedicated to providing information, advice, referrals and representation in relation to involuntary treatment under the Mental Health Act 2016 (Qld).
Assistance is free, confidential and independent of Queensland Health or the Mental Health Review Tribunal.
From time to time, the MHAP also works on law reform issues and provides continuing legal education services to the legal profession and the community.
What we do
We provide advice and representation to people who have matters before the Mental Health Review Tribunal. Due to limited resources, we may not be able to provide assistance to people who do not have matters, or potential matters, before the Mental Health Review Tribunal.
A matter before the Mental Health Review Tribunal includes:
- Review of an Involuntary Treatment Order or Treatment Authority
- Review of a Forensic Order
- An application for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
- An application to have an involuntary patient move out of Queensland
The extent of assistance that will be provided by the MHAP is at the discretion of the service, and will be based on all relevant circumstances such as the needs of the client, the merits of the case and the resources of the service.
For example, the service may:
- Provide one-off legal advice on a person’s rights and obligations under the Mental Health Act 2016 (Qld)
- Assist in preparing submissions for a client to use in their matter
- Prepare a brief so the matter may be referred for further legal advice, support or representation
- Provide representation before the Mental Health Review Tribunal on behalf of a client
We do not provide representation before the Mental Health Court. If you require assistance for a Mental Health Court matter, please contact Legal Aid Queensland on 1300 65 11 88.
If the MHAP cannot assist, we will always try to refer you to another organisation that may be able to assist.
Who we assist
We can only assist people who are subject to involuntary treatment, or have possible matters arising, under the Mental Health Act. The MHAP is respectful of and encourages the assistance of family, friends, and other support people. However, unless exceptional circumstances exist, only a current or potential involuntary patient of mental health services can be a client of the MHAP.
Priority for assistance is given to people who are inpatients.
How to get help
Please contact our office on 07 3844 4200 or use the contact form below to enquire about making an appointment to speak with a mental health solicitor.
You can help us by knowing when your next Tribunal hearing is and having a copy of your clinical report available. If you do not have this information, you can contact the Mental Health Review Tribunal on 07 3235 9059 or 1800 006 478 or speak to your case manager or other member of your treating team.
We have a whole page dedicated to helpful resources on involuntary mental health treatment.
On it you will find:
- Fact sheets
- Other useful information
Go to → Mental Health Resources
“Carly Dennis would have to be one of THE MOST kind hearted beautiful souled people I’ve ever [had] the pleasure of meeting. The help & assistance I received from that woman has most definitely changed my life for the better. I couldn’t thank her enough I had been treated so damn inhumane until she stepped in & removed the unfair torment I was receiving.”
Jodie Gough, MHAP Client
“I was grateful for the legal assistance I received.
QAI have been supportive, and it is good to have legal representation.”
William McIntosh, MHAP client
Clare* had her Treatment Authority revoked after assistance from one of Queenland Advocacy’s mental health solicitors.
The MHLS assisted a client, Clare* who was subject to a Treatment Authority (TA) in the community. Clare had a history of contact with Mental Health services since 2014 and was more recently placed on the TA in 2019 after a lengthy admission in hospital. Clare contacted Queensland Advocacy for assistance in early 2020 and Queensland Advocacy provided legal advice and subsequent representation to Clare in relation to her matter. In July 2020, Queensland Advocacy further assisted Clare in relation to her Mental Health Review Tribunal (MHRT) Hearing.
Clare wanted to pursue treatment as a voluntary patient privately in the community rather than under an involuntary order. Clare did not agree with her mental health diagnosis made by her treating doctor and found the assertive follow up restrictive and invasive.
Queensland Advocacy assisted Clare and represented her views, wishes and preferences at her MHRT hearing. Evidence before the MHRT demonstrated that Clare was currently stable and compliant with all aspects of her treatment including attending appointments and taking prescribed medications. Clare was also functioning well in the community including attending to the responsibility of caring for her elderly mother. Submissions were made on Clare’s behalf addressing the criteria for treatment under the Mental Health Act 2016 (Qld) which supported that Clare had capacity to consent to treatment and that there was no evidence of imminent serious harm to herself or others if she were not subject to involuntary treatment.
The MHRT made the decision to revoke Clare’s TA. Clare is now a voluntary patient and free to engage which services of her choice for her treatment and care.
*Name has been changed.