Michelle Lensink

Liberals Win In Bid To Change Mental Health Bill

Mentally ill patients will be given more support following legislative changes moved by the State Liberals in Parliament this week. (Saturday, 2 May 2009)

Mentally ill patients will be given more support following legislative changes moved by the State Liberals in Parliament this week.

Liberal MLC Michelle Lensink on Thursday successfully introduced an amendment into the Mental Health Bill 2008 ensuring the mentally ill have access to an independent advocate.

Under the Community Visitors Scheme advocates for patients appointed by the Government will be able to:

 • Make regular visits and liaise with patients and staff

 • help patients living in the community on treatment orders

 • listen to their concerns and help them resolve issues.

“South Australia is the only State or Territory without such a scheme,’’ Ms Lensink said.

“The Rann Government has refused to support the Liberal’s bid for a Community Visitors Scheme to improve the wellbeing and respect the rights of those sanctioned under the Mental Health Act.

“It passed this week only with the support from independents and minor parties. People with mental illness particularly those who need detention and a hospital stay, are among the most vulnerable in our society.

“A visitors’ scheme will help safeguard mental health patients’ rights and ensure that they receive fair treatment.”

Ms Lensink also moved in State Parliament an amendment to make it an offence to harbour or assist a mentally ill patient at large under the Mental Health Act.

“This new clause creates a penalty so that someone who harbours or assists a patient at large would be guilty of an offence,” Ms Lensink said.

“The Government has drawn out every aspect of this Bill; I hope that the Government is sensible with our amendments in the House of Assembly and allows the Bill with Liberal amendments to progress to Law.”

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