Forensicare’s Mental Health Advice and Response Service is launching new County Court service

Forensicare’s Mental Health Advice and Response Service is launching new County Court service

The Mental Health Advice and Response Service (MHARS) is expanding to deliver the program at Melbourne County Court from Monday 30 November 2020.

Following the success of the MHARS in Magistrates Courts across Victoria, the MHARS County Court Pilot is a program where an experienced mental health clinician will provide immediate expert advice and support to court users and staff at the Melbourne County Court for a trial period of 18 months.

Currently, the MHARS program operates at 13 Magistrate Court locations across Victoria. As a result of its success, funding was secured for the County Court Pilot to implement the MHARS program in the Melbourne County Court.

“With the overrepresentation of Victorians experiencing mental ill health in the justice system, MHARS plays a major role in supporting vulnerable consumers in the provision of early identification, assessment, diversion and linkages,” said MHARS Manager Greg Swanborough.

“MHARS has developed an exceptional reputation for supporting courts and court users, which has led to our service expansion to support the County Court of Victoria. This is a triumph for vulnerable Victorians engaged in the criminal justice system.”

What does the Melbourne County Court MHARS do?

Like with our Magistrate Court services, the Melbourne County Court MHARS provides clinical mental health advice to the court to improve the appropriateness and timeliness of mental health interventions for people appearing before the court who may need mental health treatment or support.

The MHARS County Court program can:

>             Identify individuals with a mental illness

>             Provide timely advice on mental health services and treatment for court users

>             Link and refer court users to appropriate mental health services as required

Priority will be given to providing immediate support to people appearing before the court who are acutely mentally unwell.

More information

For more information, you can see our MHARS web page, or email mharscounty@forensicare.vic.gov.au.

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