Human rights implications of introducing a new mental health act - principles, challenges and opportunities

Australas Psychiatry. 2020 Apr;28(2):167-170. doi: 10.1177/1039856220901483. Epub 2020 Feb 24.


Objective: The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), 2006 has influenced the evolution of mental health legislation to protect and promote human rights of individuals with mental illness. This review introduces how the human rights agenda can be systematised into mental health services. Exploration is made of how some principles of CRPD have been incorporated into Queensland's Mental Health Act 2016.

Conclusion: Although progress has been made in some areas, e.g. heavier reliance on capacity assessment and new supported decision-making mechanisms, MHA 2016 has continued to focus on involuntary treatment. A Human Rights Act 2019 has been passed by the Queensland parliament, which may fill in the gap by strengthening positive rights.

Keywords: CRPD; human rights; mental health legislation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Decision Making
  • Disabled Persons / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Human Rights / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Mental Health
  • Mental Health Services / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • United Nations