Mental health information for health professionals

This information is for health professionals. For crisis counselling and other support areas please ring 1800 682 288 or go to the 24 Hour Mental Health Hotlines

The Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Branch is a specialist policy and project unit within the Department of Health. It is responsible for:

  • monitoring the delivery of mental health alcohol and other drugs services
  • service development and integration
  • mental health and alcohol and other drug legislative reform matters
  • National mental health and alcohol and other drug reform agenda activities and projects
  • provision of funding to non-government organisations.

Mental health and suicide prevention strategies and legislation


NT Health is committed to working with the whole community and key stakeholders in building a mental health service system that invests in and supports the community to better understand how and when to seek help. The strategic plan outlines a collaborative approach and incorporates the perspectives of individuals, carers, clinical and non clinical service providers. The plan has been developed in consultation with many members of the community including those with a lived experience and with a direct experience with services across the continuum of care.

Read the Mental Health Strategic Plan 2019-2025.

A collaboration between NT PHN, NT Health and AMSANT, is leading development on a Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Regional Plan (the Regional Plan) for the Northern Territory, in partnership with key stakeholders across the system.

The Regional Plan aims to identify ways the current system can better support people with their mental health, mental illness and prevent suicide. It will do this by finding ways to work together so that services are more coordinated, identify priority areas where systems could work more effectively, make sure that data and evidence is used to inform how services are established and ensure a spectrum of services targeting the needs of our communities are available.

Read the Northern Territory Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Foundation Plan 2021-2022.

The Mental Health and Related Services Act 1998 (the Act) is the framework that balances the rights and treatment of those with acute mental illness in the Northern Territory.

It is underpinned by international, national and Northern Territory legislation, principles and quality standards. The Act is to be interpreted so that a person who has a mental illness receives the best possible care and treatment in the least restrictive and least intrusive environment enabling the care and treatment to be effectively given. The objective of treatment under the Act is directed towards the purpose of preserving and enhancing personal autonomy.

The Act is currently under review. To find out how to have your say in how mental health treatment and care is regulated in the Northern Territory, go to NT Health reviews and evaluations.

Approved Procedures

The purpose of the Approved Procedures is to provide guidance to procedural requirements arising from the administration of the Act in the day-to-day operation of mental health services. The Approved Procedures have been approved by the Chief Executive of the Department of Health in accordance with section 18 of the Act.

Any questions regarding the approved procedures should be directed to the Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Branch on (08) 8999 2691 or emailed to


Any medical practitioner registered to practice in the Northern Territory can make a Recommendation for Psychiatric Examination.

Before you submit a Recommendation (form 9) call the mental health helpline on 1800 682 288.

Approved Procedures and Quality Assurance Committee (APQAC)

The Approved Procedures and Quality Assurance Committee (APQAC) is a statutory Committee established under Part 17 of the Act. Membership is outlined in the Terms of Reference, and endorsed by the Chief Executive of the Department of Health.

Pursuant to section 145(2) of the Act, the function of APQAC is to:

  • monitor and review the approved procedures and forms and where appropriate, recommend amendments to them
  • assess and evaluate the quality of mental health services, including clinical practices and privileges, and where appropriate, recommend changes to them.

Any questions regarding the Approved Procedures or APQAC should be directed to the Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Branch on (08) 8999 2691 or emailed to


Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Branch  - Darwin
PO Box 40596
Casuarina NT 0811
Phone: (08) 8999 2691

For other related services, please contact:

Last updated: 11 June 2021

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