The MHCC’s submission to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System is now publicly available here: www.rcvmhs.vic.gov.au/submissions and on our website in the Publications section.
The MHCC has drawn on accumulated knowledge about people’s experiences of the Victorian mental health system from the issues raised by consumers, families and carers and the responses from services to these issues. The MHCC holds a wealth of data from over 16000 complaints since the office was established, that provide vital insights into people’s experiences with the Victorian mental health system and highlight areas that require attention to uphold people’s rights, embed the principles of the Act and improve services.
The MHCC’s observations of the first five years of the operation of the Act are that the intended shift to person-centred, rights-based and recovery-oriented practices, along with the expected cultural changes in public mental health services, has not yet been realised. Complaints to the MHCC indicate significant issues and gaps in the extent to which services’ approaches reflect the principles of respecting people’s autonomy and dignity, supported-decision making, the least restrictive treatment and the meaningful involvement of families, carers and nominated persons. It is important to acknowledge that services predominantly share the concerns that are identified in complaints to the MHCC and work with our processes to address the individual concerns and to improve their practices. Of greatest concern are the significant breaches of people’s rights and avoidable harms that have been identified in complaints about people’s experiences of public mental health services and emergency departments. Our submission therefore focused on the actions required to safeguard people’s rights and prevent the harmful and traumatic experiences that can be associated with the operation of the current mental health service system.
Part A provides background information on the MHCC’s role, functions and approach and overarching considerations for the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. Part A provides the context and basis to the MHCC’s responses to specific questions posed by the Royal Commission in Part B of the submission.