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Health & disability

The compulsory assessment process

Step 3: Following the assessment examination

What happens after the assessment examination?

Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, s 10

After the assessment examination, the health professional making the assessment must provide a certificate saying whether or not there are reasonable grounds to believe that you (the proposed patient) have a mental disorder – this is called the “certificate of preliminary assessment”. If they do think there are reasonable grounds, then you – now referred to as a “patient” – will be required to receive treatment for up to five days (see below in this section, “Step 4: The first period of assessment and treatment”).

You (the patient) will be given a copy of the certificate of preliminary assessment and a notice explaining this. A copy of the certificate and the notice must also be sent to:

  • the person who applied for you to be assessed
  • your principal caregiver (if you have one)
  • your GP
  • your welfare guardian (if you have one).

If the health professional doing the assessment doesn’t think that you have a mental disorder, you don’t have to have any further assessment or treatment.

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Mental health

Where to go for more support

Community Law


Your local Community Law Centre can provide free initial legal advice and information.

Health and Disability Commissioner


This “Mental health and addictions” webpage has information and pamphlets about mental-health services, including information for families and whānau.

Since the Mental Health Commission ceased to exist in 2012, the functions of the Health and Disability Commissioner have included monitoring mental health and addiction services and promoting improvements to those services. A specialist Mental Health Commissioner position was established in 2012 as part of the Office of the Health and Disability Commissioner.

Ministry of Health Services and Support


List of publicly funded health and disability services available in New Zealand.

Mental Health Foundation


The Mental Health Foundation has useful links and resources for people dealing with mental health issues. Helplines:


1737 call or text to talk


1737 is a completely free service to call or text 1737 any time, 24 hours a day. You’ll get to talk to (or text with) a trained counsellor.

Mental health district inspectors


You can find a list of district inspectors on www.health.govt.nz if you search for “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.

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