This website is for use by legal professionals (lawyers and law practices) only. If the information is used incorrectly, you could risk losing money or your legal rights. If you are a member of the public looking for free advice about your legal problems please visit, or contact our Legal Help advice line on 1300 792 387, Monday to Friday from 8 am to 6 pm. 

If you decide to use or rely on the information or make decisions based on the information in this website (which VLA does not recommend) VLA is not liable to you or any third party in any way for any loss, damage, costs or expenses you or they may suffer or incur as a result.

References for mental health

Information for staff about mental health issues.

VLA Professional support — Civil law resources

VLA intranet

Practice support have information about guardianship and administration, the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act and involuntary treatment, disability and supervised treatment orders, the Severe Substance Dependence Treatment Act, ARC list and capacity in relation to 'unfitness to be tried' for a criminal offence.

See Practice resources—Civil law resources—Mental health and disability(opens in a new window).

For information about security treatment orders, see Practice resources—Civil justice resources—Secure Treatment Orders(opens in a new window).

Note: These resources are only available to staff at Victoria Legal Aid.

VLA Learning Hub

Working with clients with a mental illness in mediation

This session, presented by Danny Sullivan, Forensic Psychiatrist and Assistant Clinical Director, Forensicare, in August 2014, explains cover basic aspects of mental disorders and discusses specific strategies to engage and work with clients who may be paranoid, anxious, depressed or 'difficult'.

See Working with clients with a mental illness in mediation(opens in a new window).

Access for Community legal centres

This lecture can be viewed online by Community Legal Centre staff and volunteers. To gain access staff will need to contact the Professional Legal Education team and ask for the link and password. Lecture materials can also be provided on request.

Please email

Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission

The Commission is an independent statutory authority established to oversee the performance, quality and safety of the mental health and wellbeing system and safeguard rights.

See Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission

justice connect

This not-for-profit organisation (formerly called PILCH) is committed to improving access to justice and protecting human rights. Their site has information for lawyers and advocates to help people who are homeless. The mental health section has resources about involuntary medical treatment and also information about the criminal justice system.

See the 'Mental health' in justice connect's website Homeless Law in Practice(opens in a new window).

The Law Handbook

Fitzroy Legal Service’s Law Handbook has the following information about mental health:

Lawyers Practice Manual

Westlaw's Lawyers Practice Manual has the following information about mental health:

This website has information about depression, including diagnoses, causes, treatments and links to other helpful sites.

See in a new window).

Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC)

The commission's website explains the steps involved in making complaint about discrimination.

See VEOHRC—Make a complaint(opens in a new window).

VLA law library

The library can also help you with general research direction, including links to research tools, library user guides and external research sites.

Note: These resources are only available to staff at Victoria Legal Aid.

See Library and research tools(opens in a new window).

Office of the Chief Psychiatrist

The chief psychiatrist is responsible for the medical care and welfare of people who are receiving treatment for a mental illness. This responsibility includes monitoring the clinical standards of psychiatric practice and treatment provided by public mental health services. The chief psychiatrist must also respond to complaints that are made by consumers, carers and others.

The website for the chief psychiatrist also has a link to the guidelines that have been set down about particular aspects of mental health practice.

See Office of the Chief Psychiatrist(opens in a new window).

Powerpoint to support training delivered to Legal Help staff by Rob Daly, Senior Legal Help Officer, and Robyn Mills, MDHA Training and Practice Co-ordinator to support the changes under the Mental Health Act 2014, and to provide essential information for all of our lawyers in relation to Mental health issues.

Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) (pptx, 628 KB)(opens in a new window) - Training session delivered by Lucy Ledger, Senior Advocate, Independent Mental Health, to Legal Help staff on 26 July 2017 to explain the role of IMHA at VLA.

Mental health law—All you ever wanted to know but were too afraid to ask (ppt, 2.9 MB)(opens in a new window) - Training session delivered by VLA's Robyn Mills, MHDA Training & Practice Co-ordinator, for Legal Help staff on 26 July, 2017.

LPE Mental Health (ppt, 1.1 MB)(opens in a new window) - A lecture delivered by Robyn Mills and Rob Daly on 2 December 2015.

Mental Health Act 2014 and guideline changes for Legal Help (ppt, 851 KB)(opens in a new window) - Information about the changes to mental health under the 2014 Act presented by Robyn Mills and Rob Daly.

Mental Health Tribunal (Victoria)

The Mental Health Tribunal (MHT) decides whether the criteria for compulsory mental health treatment apply to a person. The MHT makes a treatment order if all of the criteria apply.

The MHT also decides if electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) can be performed on a compulsory patient or on a person who is under 18.

Their website has information and short videos to assist people with issues related to mental health, including what to expect on the hearing day, patients rights, information for families, carers and nominated persons, and links to forms.


Department of Health Victoria’s Mental Health Services

The Victorian State Government mental health services website has publications, information and contact details for triage, hospitals and clinics.

See Department of Health—About Victoria's mental health services(opens in a new window).

This site also has a handbook designed to explain the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022

See Department of Health - Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 Handbook