In Mental Health Week October 2020, Treasure Jennings, the Mental Health Complaints Commissioner, launched the MHCC’s new Driven by lived experience framework and strategy.

Consumer, family and carer perspectives have shaped the MHCC since its beginnings. However, in 2018 the former Commissioner, Dr Lynne Coulson Barr, made an even stronger commitment: that the MHCC would be driven by lived experience in everything we do. To strengthen our approach to being driven by lived experience, a project team led by our Senior Advisor, Lived Experience and Education was established - the framework and strategy is the outcome of that work.

The Driven by lived experience framework and strategy includes:

Beginnings

  • a history of how the MHCC was informed by lived experience consultations during its establishment and early years

Present

  • a new Driven by lived experience principle developed to complement the MHCC’s five existing principles
  • a Driven by lived experience tree which shows what the principle means in practice, visually representing the experiences we would like people to have when they engage with the MHCC.
  • a set of ‘action’ statements that describe the practical approaches we are taking in each of the MHCC’s work areas to achieve the tree’s aspirations

Future

  • a Driven by lived experience strategy with clear, measurable objectives and actions for 2020 to 2023.

Guided by principles of co-production, the driven by lived experience project involved  extensive collaboration with MHCC staff and Advisory Council members.

The outcomes of this project – the framework and our commitment to a three-year strategy to continue to strengthen how we are driven by lived experience - are consistent with the recommendations in the 2019 interim report of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, which recognises that lived experience is crucial to the design and delivery of the mental health system.  As the former Minister for Mental Health, the Hon. Martin Foley, has written in his foreword, people with lived experience offer the best insights into how the mental health system operates and, importantly, how it should be improved.

Maggie Toko, the MHCC’s former Deputy Commissioner, is a lived experience leader and was a key member of the project team. She says: ‘I am so happy that I was a part of the development of the MHCC’s Driven by lived experience framework and strategy. I commend the Commissioner and project team’s commitment to engaging consumers and carers in producing a document that not only describes why lived experience is so important but how to make it relevant within the workings of the MHCC.  I believe the MHCC is leading by example and that the Driven by lived experience framework and strategy can be used by any service to embed lived experience. Congratulations team - you have done a fantastic job!’.

The Driven by lived experience framework and strategy represents the MHCC’s strong commitment to being driven by lived experience in everything we do.  We invite feedback and will continue to build on our history, evaluate our progress and grow our approach in the future.