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Mental Health

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    Our service response to COVID-19

    RCH Mental Health is committed to supporting the mental health needs of children, young people and their families during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are aware of the difficulties that many young people and their families are experiencing and have adapted our services to meet these needs. Our priority is to minimise risk to the health and safety of both our staff and service users.

    Outpatient services provided by our community teams and RCH-based specialist clinics are mainly delivered by Telehealth at present, with some scope for face-to-face appointments; these are conducted in accordance with COVID-safe guidelines.

    Telehealth is a consultation with a health professional that you can attend via a video call from your own home using a phone, tablet, laptop or computer. You will need to have a confirmed appointment before you can access it. Our referral process remains the same - for more details please scroll down to the “Eligibility” section.

    For general information on how to use Telehealth, please go to: 

    If you need to contact us for any reason, e.g. to arrange for an appointment, to change or cancel an appointment, to get support from our Carer Consultant or to give feedback, you can do so through one of the channels outlined in the “Contact us” section in the sidebar.

    Our Banksia Adolescent Inpatient Unit based in the hospital is operating as normal, with COVID-safe practices and restrictions put in place. 

    In an emergency, call 000 or attend the nearest Emergency Department.

    What is mental health?

    RCH Mental Health is a service you can turn to when there are serious concerns about an infant’s, child’s or adolescent’s mental health and wellbeing.

    We provide a range of hospital inpatient, specialist, consultation and community mental health services for infants, children and adolescents/young people. Our teams are generally interdisciplinary (a mix of mental health care professionals of different backgrounds). They have extensive child, youth and family expertise. We assess young people and offer a range of ways to help in recovery from a mental illness.

    Our mental health professionals include:

    • Child Psychotherapists
    • Nurses
    • Occupational Therapists
    • Paediatricians (doctors)
    • Psychiatrists (doctors)
    • Psychologists
    • Social Workers
    • Speech Pathologists.

    Choice, partnership and participation by young people and their families/carers are central to how we work. In addition to our direct clinical work, we support organisations and professionals working with infants, children, adolescents and families through:

    • Providing information and advice on mental health issues and resources
    • Training and education activities
    • Working closely with our hospital and community based services and community partners to improve how we work together to help young people.

    For more information see our brochure What to expect at our mental health service in English, an  Arabic translation of this brochure, and a  Vietnamese translation of this brochure .

    Mental Health Act 2014

    The new Mental Health Act started from 1st July 2014. 

    About the Act

    It is an exciting era in the history of mental health. This legislation has been created to empower the consumer and their families, carers and Nominated Persons to have a voice, and active participation in their journey to recovery.

    The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, is a designated mental health facility and is regulated under the new Act.

    We look forward to collaboratively working together with young people and their families in making their experience a positive one.

    The principles of the Act are that:

    • Assessment and treatment provided in the least restrictive way possible
    • People are supported to make or participate in decisions about assessment, treatment and recovery including decisions that involve a degree of risk
    • Rights, dignity and autonomy to be respected and promoted
    • Holistic care (mental and physical health needs including alcohol and other drugs) that is responsive to individual needs
    • Best interests of children and young people receiving mental health services to be promoted
    • Needs, wellbeing and safety of children, young persons and other dependents to be protected
    • Carers to be involved in decisions about assessment, treatment and recovery whenever possible

    Legal aspects

    To read the Act and Regulations click the following links:

    MHA 2014 forms

    Links to the forms used under the Act are below.

    Please remember to use colour copies for original documents.

    About the Orders

    Specific information including flowcharts:

    Young person and parent/carer information

    Link to 'Statement of Rights' which must be provided to the consumer and relevant people when any order is made out:

    • Statement of Rights (12 available)
    • Advanced Statements - Carers and Consumers Guide
    • Nominated Person - A Guide for Consumers, Carers and Families
    • Nominated Person - A Guide for People in the role of the Nominated Person

    Note: As of 29 September 2014, no translations of documents are available. The RCH understands this is being developed by the Department of Health.

    A useful link with information in other languages about the Mental Health Act 2014 can be found at the  Victoria Legal Aid website.

    Other useful links and resources

    Training, queries and feedback

    Resources used for training are available through the links below:

    Please contact us if you:

    • Have specific questions
    • Would like to know about what training support we can provide


    Our services are mainly for young people aged 0-15 years and their families who live in the Western and Northwestern metropolitan regions of Melbourne.  See our map on this page . We generally see infants, children and adolescents with the most severe and complex mental illnesses. There are a range of other places you can access for mild to moderate difficulties and illnesses. See our community resources sections for  children, adolescents and parents and carers more details. We also have a range of statewide services that young people up to the age of 18 may be able to use too. It is best to check with our Intake (Triage) Team to be sure. A general rule is if you need our help:

    • our hospital-based services (at the Emergency Department; on a ward; or as regular psychology outpatient where you may or may not have another medical condition) are available to you if you live anywhere in Victoria, Tasmania or southern New South Wales
    • our outpatient services are generally available to you if you live in our metropolitan areas listed above.

    Here is a link from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services that should tell you if you live in a suburb we generally provide community-based outpatient services to.

    Our services are generally free of charge or Medicare bulk-billed. A few psychology clinics may charge a gap fee for their work; and if your child/adolescent is an inpatient, you may be asked about the option of using your private health insurance at no cost to you.

    If you are unsure about whether your child would benefit from mental health care or our service, you may wish to talk to someone about whether a referral is appropriate. Please see details of how to  contact us. Self referrals (by the young person or their parent or carer) can be made, although generally it is good to have seen your local doctor (a GP), specialist doctor (e.g. Paediatrician) or other health care worker or School Welfare Coordinator.

    Rights and responsibilities

    Everyone seeking or receiving care at RCH Mental Health has certain rights and responsibilities with regard to access, safety, respect, information, participation, privacy and complaints. Our service is committed to ensure that these rights and responsibilities are recognised and upheld at all times

    It is important that families accessing and using our service know and understand their rights and responsibilities

    The following short video was developed to give parents and carers an overview of such rights and responsibilities

    Speakers of Vietnamese can view a translated version of this video below.

    Bệhn Viện Tâm Thần Nhi Ðồng – Thông tin dành cho gia dình: Quyền lợi và trách nhiệm


    English version

    Vietnamese version

    Turkish version

    Arabic version

    For detailed information about your rights and responsibilities please refer to our brochure “Your rights and responsibilities. Charter for parents and carers”.  Click here to access this information

    We have also produced a Rights and Responsibilities Checklist to help you make sure you are receiving all the information about your rights and responsibilities, and that they are being taken seriously throughout your involvement with our service. Click here to access the checklist.

    Our vision and mission

    Mental Health believes in the vision and values of The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. We strive for better mental health and wellbeing for infants, children and adolescents with their families, carers and communities.

    We are committed to achieving our goals and improving mental health outcomes through

    • delivering great care in partnership with consumers, families, carers and colleagues 
    • promoting a culture of enquiry in its staff and provides an ideal setting for staff to develop clinical and research skills 
    • leading the development of a system of care that enhances mental health and wellbeing 
    • actively seeking to engage and assist vulnerable children, young people and their families in their own health and wellbeing
    • advocating for the development of research with campus partners to support existing campus strengths, address service design and implementation of evidence-based practice.

    Festival for Healthy Living

    Read about the Festival for Health Living.

    In an emergency

    If there is an urgent concern about an infant, child or adolescent’s mental health and wellbeing:

    • Call 000 and ask for an ambulance
    • If it is safe to drive, attend your nearest emergency department for assessment.

    For all other times, please see details of how to  contact us.