Consulting with the community

In the lead up to 1 July 2014, our establishment team carried out extensive community consultation to build their understanding of the needs and expectations of people living with mental health issues, carers, families and services.

The team met with 80 groups in both regional and metropolitan Victoria. Around half of the consultations were with people living with mental health issues and carers, and half were with mental health services.

During these consultations, the team talked to people about:

  • what the terms ‘accessible, supportive and responsive’ mean in practice
  • how individuals and services view complaint handling processes
  • what makes these processes effective
  • how individuals and services perceive the new Mental Health Complaints Commissioner and how we should carry out our work.

What we learnt during these consultations has guided the development of our office and our approach.

We continue to be guided by the voice, experiences and needs of individuals, families, carers and the community in the work that we do. 


October 2012 – A new Mental Health Act for Victoria – Summary of proposed reforms is released, outlining the government’s reform objectives and policy intentions for Victoria’s new mental health legislation

May 2013 – Our establishment team starts work

October – November 2013 – Our offices are completed

23 December 2013 – Victoria’s priorities for mental health reform 2013–15 is released

26 March 2014 – Parliament passes the Mental Health Bill 2014

8 April 2014 – The Bill receives Royal Assent and the commencement date of the Mental Health Act 2014 (the Act) is proclaimed.

15 April 2014 – Victoria’s first Mental Health Complaints Commissioner, Lynne Coulson Barr, is appointed to start establishment work on 28 April 2014

1 July 2014 – The Act commences and the Mental Health Complaints Commissioner officially opens

The story of our logo

What you said

`The logo…needs to be really simple, it needs to ‘grab’ your attention, it needs to be different. It’s about the whole person.'
`Green, red, blue, yellow, orange. Colourful, happy colours.'
`A tree – representing strength (to listen, cope and handle mental illness), resilience, growth.'
`You have to be brave to make a complaint.'

Our development has been guided by the experiences and views of individuals, families, carers and services.

There is nowhere that this is more evident than in our logo, which we created in collaboration with consumers and carers.

During focus groups and through surveys, we asked participants to suggest the kinds of images and colours that best reflected the Mental Health Complaints Commissioner for them.

Our designer then created a sample selection of logos and we went back to the groups to find out what they thought. 

       `The speech bubbles are a good idea.'

        `Like the concept of the tree and what it represents, however the ‘regeneration’ isn’t evident.'

       `The colours are softer and nurturing.'

From their comments, our logo was formed.

What does the logo mean?

The logo has several elements:
  • The trunk provides grounding, strength and support
  • The canopy provides safety and protection
  • The speech bubble leaves are the voices of people living with mental health issues, their families and carers

These three elements combined – strength, safety and voice – make up our tree.

With these elements working together, we can achieve growth, improvement and hope.