Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley today launched a new independent advocacy service for people with a mental illness.
The Independent Mental Health Advocacy service, to be run by Victoria Legal Aid, is the first of its kind in Victoria. It was developed with strong consumer input to provide independent advocacy for public mental health patients undergoing compulsory treatment.
The service aims to help compulsory patients take a greater part in decision-making about their treatment. It will provide face-to-face and telephone advocacy services.
IMHA advocates help people receiving treatment in inpatient, community and forensic mental health settings. They help patients to understand their rights and to have a voice in their assessment and treatment.
Advocates will also talk with the person’s treating team, family, or other support services, and provide coaching to help people learn to advocate for themselves.
Advocates are based in Victoria Legal Aid’s Melbourne, Dandenong, Bendigo and Geelong offices and outreach across Victoria.
Consumers or service providers who wish to make a referral can do so through a dedicated phone line, by email or via the IMHA website.
The Andrews Labor Government has provided more than $1.4 million to establish the service, as well as recurrent funding of $2.1 million a year.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley
“The Andrews Labor Government is committed to providing support and services to people with a mental illness and their families.”
“The Independent Mental Health Advocacy will be critical to helping vulnerable patients who often struggle to understand and exercise their rights.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020