Last updated 1 May 2020

There are two different ways in which a person can be involuntarily assessed or treated for mental illness, depending if the person is living in the community or is charged with a criminal offence:

  • Someone who is concerned about the person (living in the community) or their behaviour can take action to have them assessed and, if necessary, treated for mental illness. This is a serious step to take because it is an interference with a person’s personal liberty. Naturally, there are strict rules as to when this can happen and the steps that have to be taken.
  • If a person is charged with a criminal offence and there is a concern that they may be mentally ill or unfit for trial, action can be taken to have them assessed, and in some cases this may lead to involuntary treatment. Again, there are strict rules that must be followed (for more information see Assessment and Treatment of People Living in the Community and Assessment and Treatment of People before a Court or in Custody on Criminal Charges).