The MHCC welcomed the release of the interim report of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System in late November. The report acknowledges the trauma and harm people have experienced in mental health services, as well as the lack of support and inclusion experienced by families and carers and says that the current mental health system is broken and needs to be rebuilt.

The Royal Commission has made several initial recommendations that will start to be implemented by while it completes its final report, including:

  • creating the Victorian Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing to bring together expertise in lived experience, research and clinical and non-clinical care

  • creating an additional 170 acute mental health beds for young people and adults in north and west Melbourne and the Barwon area

  • expanding the peer-based Hospital Outreach Post Suicidal Engagement program

  • creating an Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing Centre and establishing social and emotional wellbeing teams in all ACCHOs

  • establishing Victoria’s first peer designed and led residential mental health service

  • developing and implementing supports and structures to enhance and expand the lived experience and broader mental health workforces.

The Royal Commission has acknowledged the contributions of the many people who spoke about their experiences to inform the Commission’s work and has signalled its firm intention to continue to be informed by the lived experience of people experiencing mental health challenges, their families and carers, as well as the experiences of people working in services.

The MHCC also acknowledges the strength of the people who have made the over 16,000 complaints made or reported to our office since we opened in July 2014. These experiences were the basis of our submission to the Royal Commission and informed our observation that the intended shift to person-centred, rights-based and recovery-oriented practices in mental health services has not yet been realised. The MHCC’s submission to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System is available here and on our website in the Publications section. We look forward to continuing to contribute to the Royal Commission’s work over the upcoming year as it works to design a new mental health system for Victoria.

Over recent months, the MHCC has also contributed what we’ve learned from complaints to our office to several other state and national enquiries and commissions. This included hosting consumer and carer representatives from a number of statutory bodies to provide input to the Productivity Commission on Mental Health.