Periodically, people suffering from mental
distress are unable or unwilling to engage in psychiatric care despite being
significantly impaired and disabled by their mental illness. The Mental Health
Act (MHA) legislation provides a pathway to legally ensure, often against the
person's wishes, their engagement in psychiatric assessment and treatment (if
Initiation of the MHA process occurs in various steps.
Section 8a - the application for an assessment
Section 8a is completed by an "applicant" who must be over the age of 18 and who has personally seen the proposed patient within the preceding 72 hours. The "applicant" must state the grounds on which they believe the person to be suffering from a mental disorder. Anyone (family, Police, emergency services, the patient's GP etc.) who believes that the person may be suffering from a mental disorder may at any time fill out the Section 8a asking the director of area mental health services for an assessment of the person.
The medical certificate (Section 8b) is required to accompany the application for assessment (Section 8a) in order to progress to Section 9 of the process; Section 9 is the responsibility of the duly authorised officer (DAO).
We need your expertise and assistance with the Section 8b in order to optimize outcomes for the person, their family, GPs the Police and other emergency services.
The medical practitioner can't issue the Section 8b certificate if they are related to the patient.
The medical practitioner must examine the person and, if they believe there are reasonable grounds for believing the person may be suffering from a mental disorder, issue the certificate. The certificate must state the medical practitioner has examined the person, including the date of the examination, and that they consider there are reasonable grounds for believing the person may be suffering from a mental disorder.
These assessments are usually quick and are facilitated by the DAO. Non-DHB medical practitioners are remunerated (per assessment) in recognition of their time and skills.
Your willingness to work with mental health and addition services to provide the best possible care to your community will be greatly appreciated.
Contact Dr Andrew Darby, Pinnacle MHN primary care psychiatrist: firstname.lastname@example.org.