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The Mental Health Rights Manual: An online guide to the legal and human rights of people navigating the mental health and human service systems in NSW (4th Edition) 2015

The Mental Health Rights Manual is an online guide to the legal and human rights of people navigating the mental health and human service systems in NSW. At present in its 4th Edition, which was made available in 2015, this resource extensively built on earlier online versions in 2010 and 2000. The concept dates back to the original printed resource launched in 1995.

The 4th Edition is now undergoing an extensive review of its contents so that as far as is possible the most recently available information about state and national legislative reform and government policy directions can be made available over the next six months. The objective is that the freely accessible Manual, written in plain English, will continue as an invaluable resource bringing together information useful to anyone needing to navigate the complex service system terrain in NSW, enabling them to learn about their rights, find out where they can access support, information and guidance for themselves or those that they wish to assist. The Manual as now presented in its ‘new look’ version, is designed to align technically with MHCC’s recently upgraded website. This will enable us to better update and maintain the resource as a ‘living document’.

The Manual web resource has been redesigned and made available in a new easy to access and read format. MHCC thanks the Mental Health Commission of NSW for supporting this elegant ‘new look’ upgrade.  The latest major addition to the Manual is about the NDIS (chapter 12). In a very dynamic continually evolving mental health and human services environment MHCC endeavours to include new material as it becomes available. MHCC welcome readers to contact us if there is something they recommend be included or needs updating.

Written in plain English, the Manual is an invaluable readily accessible resource, bringing together vital information crucial to anyone having to navigate the mental health system, become acquainted with their rights, and access support and guidance.

Every person living with mental health condition should have the right to exercise all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights as recognised in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Universal Declaration) which is the international document that states basic rights and fundamental freedoms to which all human beings are entitled. This was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 December 1948, and to which Australia is a signatory.

The Universal Declaration begins by recognising that ‘the inherent dignity of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world’. It also declares that human rights are universal – to be enjoyed by all people, no matter who they are or where they live, as well as including civil and political rights, like the right to life, liberty, free speech and privacy. It also includes economic, social and cultural rights, like the right to social security, health and education.

A key objective of this Manual is to provide a comprehensive resource which can be accessed in one place that covers many topic areas which may at some time or other be of concern to people, their families and support persons as well as the workforce supporting them.

MHCC expect that the Manual will continue to assist people understand their rights and support them to advocate on behalf of themselves and others.