What do they do?
The Mental Health Review Board (MHRB) hears reviews and appeals about involuntary treatment under the Mental Health Act. Involuntary treatment is when people are treated by a mental health service, even if they don’t want it.
The MHRB also hears appeals about special leave and transfers of involuntary patients. The MHRB is guided by the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities. This means it must think about the human rights of the people it works with.
How do they do it?
The MHRB is normally made up of three people. This includes a person who studied law, a psychiatrist and a member of the community. Sometimes one of these people can make a decision on their own.
The hearing is normally held at your mental health service. You can go to the hearing, but you don’t have to. You can ask someone to represent you at the hearing, but you don’t have to. You can also have someone along to support you. The people who can be there with you include:
- Your doctor
- Your case manager
- Your lawyer or advocate
- Your friend or relative
- An interpreter
The board will listen to what you think, and ask questions. Then they will meet privately and make a decision. They will explain their decision to everyone at the hearing.
What if I don’t agree with their decision?
You can appeal a decision of MHRB, or someone can do this for you. Your mental health service can give you the form. You can also appeal by contacting your psychiatrist, the Chief Psychiatrist, a Community Visitor, the Ombudsman, the Health Services Commissioner or the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
Appeals from the MHRB are heard by VCAT. Sometimes you can appeal to the Supreme Court. A lawyer will need to help you.
Are there things MHRB can’t review?
The MHRB can’t review treatment of voluntary patients. Voluntary patients are people who agree to be treated by a mental health service.