1. Introduction

I am pleased to provide this Annual Report on the Chief Civil Psychiatrist and Chief Forensic Psychiatrist’s activities during the 2014-15 Financial Year to the Minister as is required by section 150 of the Mental Health Act 2013

In this report, I have reported on the statutory requirements of the Act and, in addition, have made some observations and presented data regarding the mental health system as a whole in Tasmania.

The Mental Health Act 2013 (the Act) commenced operation across Tasmania at 12:01am on 17 February, 2014.

The Act, the result of many years of consultation, discussion and planning, brings to Tasmania a relatively new and significant advance in the legislative framework for the treatment of those experiencing mental illness. It represents a major reform in the legal framework for the care and treatment of people with mental illness. Tasmania is believed to be the first Australian jurisdiction to enact mental health legislation that introduces decision making capacity as a threshold measure that must be considered before a person may be involuntarily assessed or treated. It has, as its foundations, Tasmania’s commitment to human rights and to the recovery model of mental health care.

The Act establishes what is effectively a substitute decision making framework for those who because of their mental illness lack decision making capacity, and cannot make their own assessment and treatment decisions, but who need treatment to prevent harm to their own health or safety or the safety of others.  At the same time, it recognises that people who have the capacity to make their own decisions have the right to do so.  Decision making capacity becomes the key test for when the Mental Health Act 2013 may apply.  In this manner, the freedom of people to make their own decisions when capable of doing so is preserved.

The Act also enables care and treatment to be given in a timely and appropriate manner, thus ensuring those who are not able to make their own decisions because of mental illness regain decision making ability at the earliest opportunity.

I am pleased to present this Annual Report of the Chief Civil Psychiatrist and Chief Forensic Psychiatrist to the Minister.

Clinical Associate Professor Leonard Lambeth
Chief Civil Psychiatrist | Chief Forensic Psychiatrist
BSc(Med), MBBS, FRANZCP, DAvMed, Cert Forens Behav Science, AFRACMA
Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Directorate