Home | Browse Topics | Health & disability | Mental health | Step 2: The assessment examination

Health & disability

The compulsory assessment process

Step 2: The assessment examination

Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, s 9

What happens after an application is made to have you assessed?

After an application has been made to have you assessed, the DAMHS or a DAO must arrange an assessment examination. The purpose of this assessment is to find out if you (the proposed patient) have a mental disorder. Usually you will be assessed by a psychiatrist, but the assessment can be done by a doctor or a nurse if the DAMHS thinks they’re suitably qualified.

What information am I given about the assessment examination?

Before the assessment, you must:

  • be told when and where the examination will be
  • be given a written notice telling you that you must attend the examination and what the examination is for
  • be told the name of the person who will examine you.

The DAMHS or DAO must make sure this information is explained to you in the presence of a member of your family, or a caregiver or support person, and also make sure that person can get to the examination.

Do I have to go to the assessment examination?

Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, s 110C

Yes. As a proposed patient, you do not have the right to refuse to go to the assessment. If you refuse, the DAO can ask the police to take you to the assessment and hold you there for up to six hours while you are examined.

How long do I have to wait for an assessment examination?

The DAMHS or DAO must arrange an assessment examination as soon as possible after the application for assessment has been made. It should happen on the day the application is made, usually within a couple of hours.

Did this answer your question?

Mental health

Where to go for more support

Community Law

Your local Community Law Centre can provide you with free initial legal advice.

Find your local Community Law Centre online: www.communitylaw.org.nz/our-law-centres

Te Hiringa Mahara/Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission

The objective of Te Hiringa Mahara is to contribute to better and equitable mental health and wellbeing outcomes for people in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Website: www.mhwc.govt.nz

Health and Disability Commissioner

The Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC) website sets out your rights under the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights and how you can make a complaint to the Commissioner.

Website: www.hdc.org.nz
Email: hdc@hdc.org.nz
Phone: 0800 11 22 33

To make a complaint online: www.hdc.org.nz/making-a-complaint/make-a-complaint-to-hdc

Mental Health Support

Publicly funded health and disability support services available in New Zealand:

Mental health district inspectors

District Inspectors are lawyers appointed by the Minister of Health to protect the rights of people receiving treatment under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, or the Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Act 2003.

Website: www.health.govt.nz/our-work/mental-health-and-addiction/mental-health-legislation/mental-health-compulsory-assessment-and-treatment-act-1992/mental-health-district-inspectors

Also available as a book

The Community Law Manual

The Manual contains over 1000 pages of easy-to-read legal info and comprehensive answers to common legal questions. From ACC to family law, health & disability, jobs, benefits & flats, Tāonga Māori, immigration and refugee law and much more, the Manual covers just about every area of community and personal life.

Buy The Community Law Manual

Help the manual

We’re a small team that relies on the generosity of all our supporters. You can make a one-off donation or become a supporter by sponsoring the Manual for a community organisation near you. Every contribution helps us to continue updating and improving our legal information, year after year.

Donate Become a Supporter

Find the Answer to your Legal Question

back to top