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The role of family/whānau in compulsory assessment and treatment


Consultation with family and whānau

Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, ss 7A, 9

The responsible clinician must consult with your family or whānau during the compulsory assessment and treatment process, unless:

  • this is not reasonably practical
  • this is not in your best interests.

Where an application for assessment is made, the purpose of the assessment needs to be explained to you (the proposed patient) in the presence of a family member, caregiver or other person concerned with their welfare.

What if I don’t want my family/whānau to be consulted?

Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992, s 7A

A responsible clinician must consult with you as the patient before consulting with your family and whānau. You may not want their family or whānau to be consulted, but the responsible clinician can still consult with the family or whānau if they believe this would be in your best interests.

Note: Family or whānau is not limited to blood relationships and could include friends, people in the patient’s support network or other people who are an important part of their life.

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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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