Why make a complaint?

It's your right. Under Victorian law, you have the right to speak up or complain about a public mental health service.

It can lead to improved experiences for you and for other people. By making a complaint, you provide the MHCC with valuable information about your experience, and we use this information to help improve services.

Who can make a complaint?

Anyone can contact us to ask a question, talk to us about their concerns, and to discuss their options for making a complaint.

This includes:

  • people receiving public mental health services
  • carers, families and friends
  • advocates and mental health workers
  • anyone else who is genuinely concerned about someone’s experience with a public mental health service in Victoria.

What happens if you aren’t the person receiving or accessing public mental health services (the consumer)?

Contact us and we will talk to you about your concerns and how we can help.

If you aren’t the consumer, we can:

  • contact the consumer to seek their consent
  • discuss whether special circumstances may exist
  • help you to explore other options for resolving your concerns.

In most cases, we seek the consumer’s consent before we accept a complaint. We will discuss with you the best way of contacting the consumer and any concerns you may have about this.

The Act allows us to accept complaints without the consumer’s consent, if we are satisfied:

  • there are special circumstances and
  • accepting the complaint will not be detrimental to the consumer’s wellbeing.

Can you accept a complaint without the consumer’s consent?

Accepting a complaint without the consumer’s consent is a serious decision, and we consider whether there are special circumstances on a case by case basis.

Special circumstances may be where:

  • the consumer does not have capacity to consent to a complaint at the time the complaint is made
  • the consumer is aged under 16, and the complaint is made by a parent or guardian
  • the complaint has been made by a guardian
  • there is risk of serious harm or issues of significant public interest.

If we accept a complaint without the consumer’s consent, the Act requires us to notify the consumer of this decision. We also seek to involve the consumer in the resolution of the complaint as early as possible, whenever possible, to uphold their rights and the mental health principles outlined in the Act.

What can I make a complaint about?

We deal with complaints about public mental health services in Victoria. This includes:

  • Designated mental health services: public mental health clinical services that provide treatment including hospital-based, community, residential, specialist and forensic services.
  • Publicly funded mental health community support services: community support services for people experiencing mental health issues that are publicly funded and provided by non-government organisations – for complaints about services funded by the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) visit the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

We can help with complaints about your experience with a service, including accessing a service, treatment and care. If we can’t help with your concerns, we will do our best to put you in touch with people who can.

NDIS funded mental health community support services

To make a complaint about an NDIS funded service please visit the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission website. The MHCC can deal with complaints about NDIS funded services if your complaint is about things that happened before 1 July 2019 or things that happened before the service was funded by NDIS. Please call us if you are not sure about whether the MHCC can deal with your complaint.