An advanced statement is a legal document part of the Victorian Mental Health Act 2014. The advanced statement is an advocacy tool you can use to speak up about what you need and want in your life and mental health plan, and it’s free to use.
"Being open about how art affects you in your life is really useful for letting people know how important it is."
Here are the key messages as stated by State Government of Victoria, Department of Health:
- An advance statement sets out a person’s treatment preferences in case they become unwell and need compulsory mental health treatment
- A person can make an advance statement at any time if they understand what an advance statement is and the consequences of making one
- An authorised psychiatrist must have regard to a person’s advance statement when making a treatment decision
Using an advanced statement is an opportunity to open communication between you, your health team, caseworkers and family and friends. It helps others to understand what works for you in your mental health journey. You may feel that making art is very important in your life and you want this acknowledged in your advanced statement. Here are some benefits that art making can have on your health and wellbeing:
- Communicate and express how you’re feeling
- Feel good about yourself
- Give your day purpose and meaning
- Stay focused and follow through with tasks
- Ease feelings of loneliness and isolation
- Feel happier and healthier physically, emotionally and mentally
- Recognise when you are starting to feel unwell
- Manage your health
- Get out of bed in the morning
- Move your body and make you feel good
Remember that you have a right to be creative and make art, even if you are under compulsory treatment. Writing an advanced statement gives you more control over your health and well-being. Download a template for an advanced statement here, or call Arts Access Victoria for more information.
Art Form booklet, Art and You and Art Advocacy films have been produced as part of the Connecting the Dots project and supported by The Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation. Art Form booklet graphic design by Carla McKee. Art and You and Art Advocacy films by Singing Bowl Media.