Mental Health in the ACT

The ACT mental health system comprises a mix of public and private, government and non-government hospital and community services. The ACT government is the major provider of acute service for people with serious mental illness and in 2011-2012 will provide $19.8 million for mental health services.

The Division of Mental Health, Justice Health and Alcohol & Drugs (MHJHADS) is the ACT government department which provides the government mental health services and oversights many of the community mental health services. MHJHADS have a commitment to consumer centred care. Their philosophy is that there is 'no wrong door'. This philosophy aims to ensure that information and services are available and readily accessible to all people in need.

Mental health in the ACT is underpinned by a recovery focus which aims to promote health and wellbeing for people with mental illness. The recovery focus means they work closely with consumers and their support networks in order to minimise the impact of mental illness on them, and to maximise their opportunities for recovery. The ACT has a Charter of Rights which states how people who experience mental illness or mental health problems can expect to be treated by the professionals who care for them, and those who work with them.

The ACT Government’s focus on the overhaul and expansion of the mental health system includes a range of new mental health facilities. The new Adult Acute Mental Health Inpatient Unit (AAMHIU) is expected to open in early 2012. MHJHADS is currently in the process of reviewing the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act 1994 to ensure it reflects best practice in mental health, and includes the developments in ideas about mental health over the last 10 years.

A number of documents underpin the ACT’s mental health system. These include


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