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Mental Health Advocacy Service – advice about mental health matters

The service is part of Legal Aid NSW and provides free legal information, advice and assistance about mental health law.

Telephone information and advice is available for all areas of mental health law. If you are not sure whether we can help, give us a call anyway. We may be able to refer you to the right place for your problem.

You can telephone for an appointment to come and speak to a lawyer at our Burwood office (phone 9745 4277).

Relatives and friends are also welcome to call us for advice.

A social worker and lay advocate are also available to help with a wide range of related social issues.

How can the MHAS assist you?

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 you about:

  • your admission under the Act 
  • inquiries and hearings before the Tribunal
  • financial management orders
  • community treatment orders
  • appeals


MHAS provides representation for some people appearing before the Guardianship Division of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). Call the MHAS well in advance of the hearing date so we can advise you. Representation before the Guardianship Tribunal is subject to Legal Aid policy guidelines.

How do you get in touch with the MHAS?

Lawyers from MHAS, or private lawyers (arranged by MHAS), attend each hospital in New South Wales that has involuntary patients. If you are seeing the Tribunal for an Inquiry following your admission, a lawyer will come to see you first. You do not have to make a request to see the lawyer.

A lawyer will also visit you if you are kept in hospital and will be seeing the Tribunal about:

  • extending your involuntary patient order
  • having your financial affairs managed by the NSW Trustee & Guardian.

A lawyer will represent you if:

  • the hospital is asking for a community treatment order (CTO) for you, and
  • you ask us to represent you.

There are other situations where a lawyer may represent you. For example, if you are appealing against a refusal by the doctor to discharge you.

Please contact MHAS as soon as possible if you want representation for a CTO or an appeal.

You may telephone the MHAS if you are not sure about what is happening to you. We will pay for the call if you are outside Sydney.

Do you need an interpreter?

The Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) provides free interpreters if you do not speak English. TIS can help you talk to us in your own language. Call TIS on 131 450. If you have a speech or hearing impairment, call the National Relay Service on 133 677 or LawAccess NSW on TTY 1300 889 529.

Mental Health Advocacy Service
Level 4, 74-76 Burwood Road
Burwood NSW 2134
Telephone: 9745 4277


A print copy of this brochure may be Ordered online or call 02 9219 5028

July 2014