- The Victorian Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 will come in on September 1, 2023
- One of the biggest changes set to be rolled out will be the creation of a dedicated Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission for Victoria
- The new Act will continually be reviewed over the coming years to assess and improve the effectiveness of the reforms
The Victorian Department of Health has invited Victorian mental health and wellbeing workers to a one-hour briefing, ahead of the Victorian Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 changes to be implemented on September 1, 2023.
The Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2014 will be changed to reflect the needs of Victorians over the course of the nine years since it was introduced.
Changes to the 2014 Act included new rights-based principles that promote the values, preferences and views of Victorians with mental illness or psychological distress. In addition, the duties and responsibilities of staff in the sector were planned to reflect new best practice for care recipients.
The 2022 Act codified new culturally diverse practices and acknowledgement of Aboriginal and First Nations peoples. Care for people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are expected to receive care which recognises and respects self-determination.
Mental health and wellbeing service providers will be expected to follow the Royal Commission’s model of least restrictive and person-centred care ambitions, with annual reports to address these duties under the Act. Complaints can be made to the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission if a service provider fails to comply with these obligations.
Information sharing guidelines have also been updated to respect the privacy of care recipients for psychological, emotional or trauma distress:
- Enabling information sharing with specified emergency service providers in an emergency
- Guidance for the access of information from the current electronic health information system and the scope of such access
- Enabling a consumer to contribute a statement on their health information where a request to correct information had been made under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 or the relevant Health Privacy Principle and the provider has refused to make the correction
- An obligation for mental health and wellbeing service providers to share information with family, carers or supporters at defined points of care (such as admission or discharge) when a consumer has consented to this disclosure
The planned session, held August 14, 2023 — 1:30 – 2:30 p.m, ACST, will be the first of its kind in a series of information forums to prepare for the upcoming changes. Workers can register through Eventbrite and join by Zoom, through a link which will be sent the day prior. On the day, attendees will hear from representatives of some of the new and changing entities established by the Act, including lived and living experience representation.
Which changes would you like to see in Australia’s mental health and wellbeing treatment on a national level? Let the Talking Aged Care team know in the comments below or on social media.