A specialist mental health service delivered by Orygen Youth Health.
Page ContentsJump to a section on this page
The Children’s Court Mental Health Advice and Response Service (MHARS) is a specialist mental health service delivered by Orygen Youth Health (OYH) at Melbourne Children’s Court.
The MHARS Clinician is available to:
- provide mental health assessments for young people appearing before the Children’s Court who present with suicidality, acute mental health concerns and/or distress whilst awaiting their court appearance
- advise the Court whether mental health concerns are present or whether factors related to mental health may have a bearing on the proceedings
- facilitate timely access to appropriate treatment and mental health support
A young person must:
- be aged 10 – 18 years old; and
- be charged with an offence and have been served with a Summons, or be on a Bail Order; or
- be in police custody at the Children’s Court awaiting trial in the criminal division; or
- be subject to court proceedings in the family division (Secure Welfare only).
At least one of the following criteria must also be met:
- there are concerns about the mental health and wellbeing of the young person
- the young person is engaging in or expressing a desire to engage in deliberate self-harming behaviours, or is expressing suicidal ideation, or is having thoughts to harm others
- the young person’s judgment is severely impaired due to the effects of drugs and/or alcohol use, or any undetermined reason
Referrals may be initiated by a wide range of sources including:
- Magistrates and Court Personnel
- Legal Practitioners and Victoria Police
- Court Advice and Support Officers
- Forensic Medical Officers
- Child Protection and Youth Justice
- Family, support people and self-referrals
Referrals may be made by phone or email.
Key services provided
- assessments and reports responding to presenting mental health concerns
- brief interventions as deemed appropriate
- timely advice to Magistrates and other stakeholders regarding the mental health considerations of a young person
- tailored recommendations detailing coordinated and collaborative treatment planning and support