Human Rights and Mental Illness
The Report of the National Inquiry into the Human Rights of People with Mental Illness was tabled in Parliament and publicly released on 20 October, 1993. Over a three year period the Inquiry received nearly 900 written submissions, heard from over 450 witnesses at formal hearings and consulted with approximately 300 people at forums and informal meetings.
The Inquiry found that people affected by mental illness are among the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community and that they suffer from widespread systemic discrimination and are consistently denied the rights and services to which they are entitled.
The recommendations of the Inquiry covered a wide range of areas including inpatient and community treatment and care of people affected by mental illness, the rights of carers, the special needs of particularly disadvantaged groups, accommodation, employment, professional training and education, community education, research, prevention and early intervention, and the reform of mental health and related legislation.
This Inquiry was an extension of the original National Inquiry into the Human Rights of People with Mental Illness. The Inquiry was reconvened in Victoria because of particular concerns relating to that State which required further exploration. The Report of the Reconvened Inquiry was tabled in Parliament on 14 December 1995.
The Reconvened Inquiry found that, in principle, the Victorian Government's reform agenda was potentially of great benefit to people with mental illness, as well as to their carers and the community. However, the evidence raised serious concerns about the manner in which the reforms were being implemented.
The Inquiry found that, despite higher per capita spending on mental health than in other States and Territories, Victoria's mental health system was not meeting the demands placed on it. The situation was placing extreme demands on the community sector, service providers and those caring privately for people with mental illness. Of particular concern was that an antagonistic climate appeared to pervade Victoria's health system. A climate of intimidation appeared to inhibit mental health workers and advocates from voicing their concerns about the mental health system.
Last updated 2 December 2001.