Asian Family Services are delighted to see the repeal and replacement of the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992. We hope the new legislation reflects a human rights-based approach, promotes supported decision-making, aligns with the recovery and wellbeing model of mental health, and provide measures to minimise compulsory or coercive treatment.
The submission from Asian Family Services reflects the direct experiences working with Asian and ethnic lived experience groups and family members. Asian Family Services witnessed how the current Mental Health Act created systematic barriers for Asian and ethnic minority groups to receive fair mental health treatment and care that has an approach based on human rights and recovery. With over 20 years of experience as the Asian and ethnic groups mental health and addiction primary health care provider in New Zealand, our responsibility is to authentically represent their voices, especially those who suffer silently from mental health and addiction issues due to the current Mental Health Act, which unfortunately is not well understood by the general population. Many individuals from the Asian and ethnic minority groups were unable to share their shame and frustration that were buried deep inside, leaving them to feel invisible and highly vulnerable at the time when their cultural and linguistic needs were not being met, respected, or understood under the Mental Health Act.
Below is the full submission: