Member briefing: Mental Health and Wellbeing Bill 2022
June 30, 2022
On 22 June 2022 the Victorian Government introduced the Mental Health and Wellbeing Bill 2022 (the Bill) to the Victorian Parliament. In line with recommendations from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, the new Act – which is set to replace the Mental Health Act 2014 – seeks to deliver tailored care that promotes and protects the rights of people living with mental illness or psychological distress.
During the initial public consultation on the proposed Act, the VHA developed a submission on behalf of its membership which was based on consultation and discussions with VHA members and partners as part of a broader forum series in collaboration with Mental Health Victoria. We have continued to provide sector insight through more recent targeted consultation on the Bill, ensuring the voices of the sector – those delivering mental health services – were included in the resulting policy framework.
The VHA has welcomed the Bill and its proposed reform – and is pleased to be able to support the draft legislation.
VHA advocacy efforts have led to:
- the inclusion of an objective focusing on the mental health and wellbeing workforce
- mental health service providers only having to report on their adherence to the new mental health and wellbeing principles through their annual report
- changes in language around the health-led response to a mental health crisis, Mental Health and Wellbeing Commissioners, and complaint handling standards.
The Bill is expected to pass the Victorian Parliament and will come into effect as an Act a year after its passage. Due to the big changes envisioned by the legislation, and the short time frame until it comes into effect, successful implementation will be vital to ensuring the Act delivers on its promise. The VHA will continue to advocate on behalf of members and work with the Victorian Government to achieve this.