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Communtity Law Manual | Mental health | Overview of the mental health laws

Mental health

Overview of the mental health laws

What the Mental Health Act does

When a person experiences mental illness, they usually get to make their own decisions about their treatment. The Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992 covers situations when it is thought that a person needs treatment for their mental illness, but they do not agree to this.

Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, ss 57–59, 69, 110A

If you become a patient under the Mental Health Act:

Main principles of the Mental Health Act

The Mental Health Act:

  • defines the circumstances in which compulsory assessment and treatment can happen
  • emphasises community-based care, with patients being sent to hospital only when necessary, in as free an environment as possible
  • emphasises how important it is to respect a patient’s cultural values and beliefs during their assessment and treatment
  • emphasises consultation with patients’ family or whānau
  • sets out patients’ rights when they are being assessed or treated.
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