Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

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Case Study: Mental Health Legal Centre

ProjectAdvance Statements for Improved Recovery Journeys

Amount$250,000 over 2 years



This grant was approved under our previous grants policy (Jan 2014 – March 2017)
Rural and regional Victoria Provide Advance Statement best practice templates and advice to rural and regional services and extend to the state-wide telephone service
Building organisational capacity Embed a core service, based on collaborative networks, across legal, health and government sectors and attract quality volunteers and students
Extending opportunity Help Victorians to assert their legal rights and effectively engage in the Recovery Orientated Framework exercising these rights
Collaboration and partnership Saltwater Area Mental Health Clinic, Thomas Embling Hospital, Orygen, RMIT, Ashurst, Sparke Helmore Lawyers, Department of Health

Maximising autonomy, dignity and control

The new Victorian Mental Health Act 2014 aims to ensure that people receiving treatment for mental illness are involved in all decisions about their assessment, treatment and recovery, and have their views and preferences respected through the use of Advance Statements. Mental Health Legal Centre is working to embed Advance Statements across legal, health and government sectors.


  • The Advance Statement is based on a collaborative approach between the consumer, the treating team and legal practitioners to build a platform for treatment and recovery that considers a patient’s treatment preferences.
  • The Centre provides mental health services with critical independent legal assistance and staff training to enable clients to develop their own effective, person-centred Advance Statements
  • Advance Statement clinics are delivered on a fortnightly or monthly basis co-located at Saltwater Clinic, Thomas Embling Hospital and Orygen, increasing both practitioners’ and consumers’ knowledge and understanding of Advance Statements.
  • Statewide telephone support services are delivered to regional mental health services and lawyers.
  • RMIT is developing a technology-based solution to assist people in completing the forms.


"Advance Statements obtained when the patient is at a stable optimal point and able to involve their carers or advocates in defining their wishes for future care, are an integral initiative established in the new Act." John Serry, Psychiatrist member, Mental Health Tribunal