S69: FEATURED SYMPOSIUM: Legislated Visitor Programs and Mental Health System Change

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By September 27, 2017 No Comments

Authors: Alistair McEwin, John Alderdice, Jonty Bush, Karen Lenihan, Debora Colvin, Rosemary Barker, Claudia Manu-Preston, Phil Donnelly

Year: 2017

Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference

Subject: symposium, legislation,

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: In every State and Territory the role for independent oversight through direct contact with consumers and mental health services is recognised in Legislation. The mechanisms for reporting, systemic advocacy and the support for changes in service provision is not well defined in the legislation empowering these programs. Six Visitor Programs will briefly describe their legislated roles and functions and then explore how they identify system issues, the reporting and advocacy mechanisms they use to effect change and the ways in which they measure if they have been effective. Each of the six Visitor Programs will identify the current major issues they are encountering in services, explore their analysis of those issues and discuss the actions they take to promote the resolution of these issues. The relationship of identified issues to National policy directions such as the elimination of seclusion and restraint or the provision of services under NDIS funding) will be explored and the achievements of each of the Programs will be discussed. Discussion with a diverse TheMHS audience will be invited in order to assist the Programs to critically examine the ways they engage with consumers, families and carers, services and policy makers in order to meet their responsibilities under legislation.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: All states and territories recognise the need for independent oversight in mental health services by legislating for independently appointed Visitors to attend services and have direct contact with consumers and families, however an understanding of the roles and functions of the programs is not well grasped by services and consumers and the processes of advocacy can vary widely across jurisdictions.

Learning Objective 2: The Audience will gain an awareness of the Legislated Visitor Programs in mental health services, the systemic issues that come to their attention and the way they advocate for the resolution of those issues.

Mental Health Act (NSW) 2007, Part 3 Official Visitors and Accredited Persons, Sections 128-135.
Western Australia Mental Health Act 2014, Division 8 Council of Official Visitors
South Australia Mental Health Act 2009, Part 8 Division 2
Queensland Mental Health Act 2016, Act No. 5 of 2016, Division 5 - Searches of visitors to high security units or other approved services
Mental Health Act 2014, 26 or 2014, Part 9 Community Visitors
Australian Capital Territory Mental Health Act 2015 Republication No 4 Effective: 21 June 2016 Part 12.3 Official Visitors
Mental Health Act 2013, Tasmania, Schedule 5 Official Visitors

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