Mental Health Advocacy Service

Legal Aid NSW statewide specialist service.

The Mental Health Advocacy Service (MHAS) is a statewide specialist service of Legal Aid NSW. We provide free legal information, advice and assistance about mental health and guardianship laws. The MHAS work with LawAccess NSW, who are your first contact when seeking help.

  • People who have been involuntarily admitted to a hospital 
  • people subject to a community treatment order, or an application for a community treatment order
  • forensic patients and people in correctional centres who are subject to orders for treatment for mental illness
  • people subject to guardianship and/or financial management orders
  • people subject to orders made under the Drug and Alcohol Treatment Act 2007 (NSW)
  • people appearing before the Guardianship Division of NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal
  • relatives and friends are also welcome to call us for advice.

Advice and assistance

We give free independent advice about all the above areas of law.

We can also assist you:

  • by providing advice if you are detained in hospital and you want to leave 
  • by providing legal advice in response to applications for financial management and/or guardianship orders
  • by giving information and legal advice over the telephone with regards to the legal implications of the Mental Health Act 2007 (NSW), Mental Health and Cognitive Impairment Forensic Provisions Act 2020 (NSW), Guardianship Act 1987 (NSW), and the NSW Trustee and Guardian Act 2009 (NSW)
  • by conducting appointments for people wishing to speak with a lawyer.

If you have been detained in a hospital under the Mental Health Act you may be brought before the Mental Health Review Tribunal (‘the Tribunal’). A lawyer can represent you in the inquiry and also advise and represent you about things like your financial affairs, community treatment orders, and appealing against a refusal by the doctor to discharge you.

MHAS provides representation for people appearing before the Guardianship Division of NCAT. Call LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529 well in advance of the hearing date so we can provide you with advice regarding the Mental Health Review Tribunal and Guardianship Division of NCAT.

Call LawAccess NSW on 1300 888 529 for information and advice.

Lawyers from MHAS, or private lawyers (arranged by MHAS), attend each hospital in NSW that has involuntary patients. If you are seeing the Tribunal because the doctors want you to stay in the hospital, a lawyer will come to see you first. You do not have to make a request to see the lawyer.

Our service is located at Legal Aid NSW head office, 323 Castlereagh Street, Sydney.