Promoting mental health, demystifying mental illness, countering stigma and discrimination

Codes of Rights

Mental Health and the Code of Rights

The Health and Disability Commissioner Act was passed by Parliament in 1994 with the primary purpose of giving rights to all health and disability service users in New Zealand.

From 1 July 1996 the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights came into effect, and with it a national system of consumer advocacy and independent Commissioner investigations.

The Legislation and Mental Health

The Act and Code give power to groups such as those experiencing behavioural problems, psychological disorders or mental illness.

Quality service is maximised in situations where consumers know and trust that the provider is working in partnership with them.  While it is often difficult to achieve this partnership relationship when Service Users are unwell, in a position of vulnerability, or lacking in adequate information, positive outcomes can result when this inherent imbalance is redressed through the Code.

Mental health Service Users and their Family/Whanau often express that the loss of respect, dignity and discrimination are major factors in their treatment process.

Compulsory provision of services under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act results in the loss of the right to give informed consent for treatment of the mental disorder. However such Service Users are still protected by the Code of Rights in all other respects including informed consent for treatments that do not fall within the jurisdiction of the Mental Health Act.

The Codes give Mental Health Service Users and their Family/Whanau a tool. It recognises that maximisation of service cannot occur until they feel able to participate.

Each Right in the Codes has a different way of assisting in the process.

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Consumer Code of Rights

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Taranaki Mental Health Sector