The Mental Hygiene Act of 1938 required active treatment for the mentally ill. It also attempted to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness by changing words such as "lunatic", "imbelcile", "insane" and "asylum", to "mentally sick", "mental illness" and "mental hospital". The Act allowed for voluntary admission to mental hospitals and set out the powers of the Public Curator in modern language. The full title for this act was "An Act to consolidate and Amend the Law relating to the Care, Treatment, and Control of Mentally Sick Persons" (Act no. 2 Geo VI, No.21). The next major piece of legislation relating to Mental health in Queensland was the Mental Health Act 1962 (Act no.46/1962).
The Mental Hygiene Act of 1938 attempted to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness by changing words such as "lunatic", "imbelcile", "insane" and "asylum", to "mentally sick", "mental illness" and "mental hospital". However, the term continued to be used in the Annual Reports of the Department of Health and Home Affairs and the Department of Health up until the late 1960s.
Sources used to compile this entry: Queensland Health, The road to recovery - a history of mental health services in Queensland 1859-2009, Queensland Government, 2013, https://www.health.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0028/444583/qld-mh-history.pdf; Law Research Service, Melbourne Law School, Law Library, The University of Melbourne. 'Find and Connect Project - Queensland Legislation', 4 April 2013, held in the project files at the University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre.
Prepared by: Lee Butterworth
Created: 11 April 2013, Last modified: 16 November 2016