The following principles3 have been identified for planning, developing and implementing safety activities and safety improvement processes in mental health services. They are to be used in conjunction with, and do not replace, other agreed National Mental Health Strategy quality improvement directions, State and Territory mental health legislation, legislation and guidelines governing the provision of private hospital mental health services, and other existing protocols, procedures, standards and clinical guidelines.

  1. Consumer and carer rights to dignity, respect, and privacy irrespective of cultural background, gender, religion, sexual identity, or age are upheld in accordance with the United Nations Principles on the Protection of People with Mental Illness and the Australian Health Ministers Mental Health Statement of Rights and Responsibilities that protect human rights

  2. Consumers and carers have the right to access accurate and complete information on their rights, access advocacy services, and access appropriate mechanisms for complaints and redress. Information provided is user-friendly and in a language the person understands.

  3. Consumers are actively involved in individual treatment planning and review, and service planning, implementation, evaluation and quality improvement processes. Carers are actively involved in service planning, implementation, evaluation and quality improvement processes, and with consent, also individual treatment planning and review.

  4. Mental health consumers have the right to receive care in the least restrictive environment, and with the least restrictive or intrusive treatment, that is appropriate to their health needs and their immediate circumstances.

  5. The activities and environment of mental health services are safe for consumers, carers, families, staff and the community. The environment is used in ways that make it conducive to building quality therapeutic relationships.

  6. Mental health professionals uphold the rights of people affected by mental health problems and mental disorders and those of their family members and/or carers, by maintaining their privacy, dignity and confidentiality and actively promoting their safety.

  7. Treatment, support and safety interventions are non-discriminatory and provided in a manner that is sensitive to, and understanding of, the social and cultural values of consumers, the consumer's family and community.

  8. The onus is upon mental health services to foster a transparent culture that encourages incident reporting and facilitates processes for staff feedback and involvement in improvement processes.

  9. Mental health services and mental health professionals provide treatment interventions that are evidence based and informed by existing clinical practice guidelines and professional standards.

  10. Mental health services meet their legal and moral occupational health and safety obligations to provide a safe workplace and this is respected by all stakeholders.


3 These Principles are based on National Standards for Mental Health Services, National Practice Standards for the Mental Health Workforce, United Nations Principles and Mental Health Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.