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.

A complaint 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 the public mental health service (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 will 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 Mental Health Act 2014 (Vic) 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.

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 will 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 complaints can we help with?

The MHCC deals with complaints about public mental health services in Victoria, with issues such as access, treatment and care. We can take complaints about the following services:

  • designated mental health services, including hospital-based, community, residential, specialist and forensic services
  • publicly funded mental health community support services if they are not funded by the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme)
  • NDIS services if your complaint is about things that happened before 1 July 2019 or before the service was funded by the NDIS. Otherwise, please contact the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission

If you’re not sure whether the MHCC can help you, please call us on 1800 246 054 (free from landlines) or 03 9032 3328 to ask a question, make a complaint or discuss your options. If we can’t help you with your concerns, we will do our best to put you in touch with people who can.