This Report documents evidence presented to the Reconvened Inquiry into the Human Rights of People with Mental Illness.
This Inquiry was an extension of the original National Inquiry into the Human Rights of People with Mental Illness. The Report of the National Inquiry, which was tabled in Parliament in October 1993, highlighted deficiencies in mental health policies, practices and services across Australia. Since the National Inquiry, increased public awareness about mental illness has led to a number of positive responses to the Report from both government agencies and non-government organisations. The Victorian Health Minister, the Hon Marie Tehan, initially welcomed the Report as 'an important and wide-ranging contribution'. The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission was disappointed at later criticism of the Report by Dr John Paterson, head of the Victorian Department of Health and Community Services.
In 1994 the then Federal Human Rights Commissioner, Brian Burdekin, received information from clinicians, advocates and public servants that attempts had been made to intimidate individuals and organisations to prevent criticism of mental health services in Victoria. In response to these allegations the Commissioner announced he would reconvene the Mental Illness Inquiry in Victoria. Subsequently the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission received so many calls and letters about other mental health issues that the Inquiry's terms of reference were expanded.
Not For Service: Experiences of Injustice and Despair in Mental Health Care in Australia is the most significant report on mental health care in Australia for over a decade. In 1992 all Australian Governments initiated the National Mental Health Strategy to correct decades of neglect and assure the rights of people with mental illness.