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Communtity Law Manual | Mental health | Step 2: The assessment examination

The compulsory assessment process

Step 2: The assessment examination

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

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

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 (the proposed patient) given about the assessment examination?

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

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?

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

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.

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