Mental illness is defined under the Mental Health Act 2009 (SA) as any illness or disorder of the mind [s 3].
As there is often confusion as to what exactly constitutes a mental illness further clarification is given in Schedule 1 of the Act which spells out what is not mental illness.
A person is not mentally ill merely because of any one or more of the following:
- political opinion or belief;
- religious opinion or belief;
- sexual preference or sexual orientation;
- political activity, religious activity, sexual activity or sexual promiscuity;
- immoral conduct;
- developmental disability of mind;
- taking alcohol or any other drug;
- anti-social behaviour;
- economic or social status; or
- membership of a particular cultural or racial group.
Whilst being temporarily affected by alcohol or drug use does not fall under the definition of mental illness, if a person has sustained serious or permanent physiological, biochemical or psychological impairment as a result of alcohol or drugs then alcohol or drug use can be regarded as an indication that the person is suffering from a mental illness.
Where there is uncertainty as to whether a particular condition is a mental illness, contact a doctor or a Community Mental Health Service. In an emergency contact the Assessment and Crisis Intervention Service (ACIS) on 13 14 65.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.