People must be over 18 to undergo a mental health assessment and treatment.
If you are looking to apply for a mental health assessment for someone else, a doctor or a local mental health crisis team can help you with the application for assessment.
There’s a specific application form you’ll need to fill in and send to the Director of Area Mental Health Services. It’s not enough to just write a letter, even if you do cover all the required information. You can get a copy of this application form by contacting the mental health crisis team in your area (called a 'CATT' team – for 'Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team'). They will also give you helpful information about how to apply and about how the compulsory assessment process works. You can find contact details for local CATT teams on the Mental Health Crisis Team website:
Before someone can be ordered to undergo treatment, they’re first assessed. The Mental Health Service will decide when and where the assessment will take place.
After an application is made, a medical practitioner or doctor (called the responsible clinician) assesses the patient. This is called a preliminary assessment.
The preliminary assessment takes 5 days and the responsible clinician must decide if there are reasonable grounds to believe the patient has a mental disorder.
After 5 days, a certificate of preliminary assessment is issued and the patient is told in writing if the responsible clinician believes more assessments and treatment are needed.
If the responsible clinician thinks the patient has a mental disorder, they can issue a certificate of further assessment. The patient must be told in writing that they have to go through further assessments and treatment over a period of 14 days.
Before the 14 days are up, a certificate of final assessment is issued. If the patient isn't well enough for release, the responsible clinician must apply to the court for a Compulsory Treatment Order. This means the patient can be held and treated for another 14 days. If a court doesn't decide on the application before the end of the second 14-day period, the patient must be released.
The patient can ask the Family Court to review their condition any time during the preliminary assessment and further assessment before the responsible clinician has applied for a Compulsory Treatment Order.
If the judge decides that the patient can be released from having to go through a mental health assessment the patient must be discharged immediately and that is the end of the assessment process.
This page was last updated: