The key terms that are used in this statement are explained below.

Advance instruction

The term 'advance instruction' is used to indicate an instruction about care, support, treatment, recovery or rehabilitation that is made by a mental health consumer before he or she becomes unwell.


An advocate is a person who has been appointed, or has been chosen by a mental health consumer, to speak on his or her behalf and to represent his or her concerns and interests as directed. Advocates support mental health consumers to seek the outcomes the consumer desires. Advocates are directly accountable to mental health consumers.

Australian governments

The term 'Australian governments' includes all Australian state governments, the two territory governments, the Commonwealth Government and local governments.

Capacity-based mental health laws

Mental health laws are referred to as 'capacity-based' when they enable those mental health consumers who retain the capacity to make decisions to make their own decisions about assessment, support, treatment, care, rehabilitation and recovery for themselves on an equal basis with others.


A carer is a person of any age who provides personal care, support and assistance to another person because the other person has a disability, a medical condition, a mental illness or is frail. Carers may include the consumer's family as well as other people significant to the consumer.

The term carer does not apply if the personal care, support and assistance is provided under a contract of service in the course of undertaking voluntary work for a charitable, welfare or community organisation, or when the person is completing requirements of a course of education or training.

An individual is not a carer merely because he or she is the spouse, de facto partner, parent, child or other relative of an individual, guardian of an individual or lives with an individual who requires care.


A disability arises when a person's physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments hinders the person's full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. This definition includes but is not limited to the definition of 'disability' in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cwlth). Top of page

Discrimination on the basis of disability

Discrimination on the basis of disability refers to any distinction, exclusion or restriction on the basis of disability that has the purpose or effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal basis with others, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. It includes all forms of discrimination, including denial of reasonable accommodation. This definition includes but is not limited to the definition of 'discrimination on the basis of disability' in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cwlth).

Mental health

Mental health refers to the capacity of individuals and groups to interact with one another in ways that promote subjective wellbeing, optimal development and the use of mental abilities (cognitive, affective and relational), and the achievement of individual and collective goals consistent with the law.

Mental health consumers

The term 'mental health consumers' refers to people who are currently using, or have previously used, a mental health service and includes people who have accessed general health services for a mental health problem. For the purposes of this statement, this term includes those with emerging or established mental illness for which they have not yet sought treatment, or for whom treatment has not yet been provided.

Mental health consumer advocates

Mental health consumer advocates are advocates, as defined above, who also advocate for systemic change.

Mental health problem

A mental health problem occurs when a person experiences a diminished state of mental health.

Mental health services

Mental health services are those with the primary function of providing treatment, rehabilitation or community health support to mental health consumers. They include services or facilities that provide a mental health function, whether or not they are provided by organisations operating in the public, private and non-government sectors.

Mental illness

A mental illness is a clinically diagnosable disorder that significantly interferes with an individual's cognitive, emotional or social abilities. Top of page


Recovery is a personal process of changing one's attitude, values, feelings, goals, skills and/or roles. It involves developing new meaning and purpose as the person grows beyond the effects of psychiatric disability.


Rehabilitation refers to the restoration of capacity and ability. It generally applies to individually tailored processes that a person may require to re-adapt to society after acquiring a disability.


The term 'representative' refers to a person who has been given the power by a mental health consumer to speak on his or her behalf, to represent the concerns and interests of the mental health consumer as directed by the mental health consumer, to advocate for the mental health consumer, to seek the outcomes desired by the mental health consumer, and who is directly accountable to the mental health consumer.

Service provider

A service provider is a person (usually with professional qualifications) who receives remuneration for providing services to mental health consumers.

Social inclusion

Social inclusion refers to policies and programs that promote the reversal of circumstances or habits that lead to social exclusion, which is associated with disadvantage. Indicators of social inclusion are that all Australians are able to secure a job, access services, and connect with family, friends, work, personal interests and local community.

Support persons

Support persons are people who assist mental health consumers in ways that are requested by the mental health consumer, including being a representative or advocate for the person or assisting the mental health consumer to make decisions about his or her support, care, treatment, recovery and rehabilitation. Support persons should be taken to include families, advocates and mental health consumer advocates.