MHCC Mental Health Rights Manual

Change font size: SmallerReset textLarger


The Mental Health Rights Manual is an online guide to legal and human rights and the service system that supports people with lived experience of mental health conditions in NSW. This edition represents a major update from two earlier online editions. The 4th edition incorporates the most recent available information about state and national legislative reform and government policy directions. Written in plain English, this edition is an invaluable freely accessible resource. It brings together information useful to anyone who has to navigate the complex terrain of the mental health, legal, and human service systems in NSW, enabling them to learn about their rights, and find where they can access support, information and guidance for themselves or those that they wish to assist.

Whilst there is an abundance of specific information available, there is no other resource that brings together such a broad spectrum of topics that affect people with mental health conditions; and that describes the interface between the legal and service systems as they interact in NSW. The 4th Edition speaks to a diverse mental health and disability community, but has been developed specifically for people with mental health conditions, their carers and families and the workforce that supports them across community and public agencies and services.

This 4th Edition of the Manual was undertaken by the Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC) with the support of the Mental Health Commission of NSW. MHCC has conducted this work in-house with consultant Phillip French, a lawyer with extensive national and international experience in the mental health, disability, human rights context and in practice in NSW. Phillip worked together with Corinne Henderson (MHCC) who has managed and coordinated this project since the development of the previous edition in 2009/10.

The previous 3rd Edition of this Manual was produced in a partnership between The Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC) and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC). This 4th Edition significantly updates and expands on that work, and MHCC acknowledges the continuing value of the PIAC’s contribution which laid the foundation for future editions.

MHCC acknowledge the value of all the contributors to this and earlier editions which included extensive input from people with lived experience of mental health conditions, carers and family members, as well as agency and public service officials, health care and community service workers, and advocates.

Keeping the Manual user-friendly has been a particular focus of all involved in the development of this Manual; ensuring as much as possible that it is accessible as well as comprehensive. As evidenced by MHCC’s annual product evaluation, the Manual remains a highly valued and utilised resource for the community across multiple service sectors.

I commend the Mental Health Rights Manual (4th edition, 2015) to you on behalf of MHCC. 


Jenna Bateman
Chief Executive Officer
Mental Health Coordinating Council