Mental health patients and police

Northern Territory Mental Health Line: 1800 682 288

Under the Mental Health and Related Services Act 1998, you can be detained by police and taken to a doctor or another mental health professional if the police think:

  • you need treatment
  • or are likely to cause serious harm to yourself or someone else.

You will be assessed to see if you need to be admitted to hospital.

Being assessed

Mental health service staff or NT Police can ask the tribunal for an assessment warrant to take you to be assessed by a doctor or another mental health professional.

They must assess you within 14 days or the warrant will expire. They can assess you anywhere.

This might be needed if you can't be found, or you have refused to agree to be assessed and your behaviour is a risk to others.

This might be because other people may have become worried about you and told mental health staff you may be unable to look after yourself and may need involuntary treatment.

Police powers

Police have powers under the law so they can do the following:

  • use any reasonable force and assistance
  • enter private property where they think you are.

Police must let you know you have been detained for assessment under the law, and take you to a mental health practitioner as soon as possible.

Community management order

If your community management order is suspended, your doctor may ask a police officer to help transport you safely to the hospital.

This will normally only happen if you refuse to come to hospital and/or your behaviour is a risk to others.

Last updated: 12 May 2016

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