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What to expect when you make a complaint to the MHCC.

This page gives you an overview of what you can expect when you make a complaint with the MHCC.

Our services are free, and we can arrange an interpreter to take a complaint in your language or via the National Relay Service if you have a hearing impairment.

How to make a complaint:

What we do

The MHCC is an independent specialist complaints body that deals with complaints about public mental health services in Victoria.

We safeguard people’s rights and focus on how we can work with consumers, families, carers and mental health services to resolve complaints and drive service improvements.

Find out more about how to make a complaint with us.

Services we take complaints about

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

  • Any mental health service that is delivered by a public hospital or is a community-based, residential, specialist or forensic mental health service in Victoria.
  • A publicly-funded Victorian mental health community support service if it is not funded by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

If you have a complaint about any public mental health service (Vic),External Link you can make a complaint directly to the service or you can contact the MHCC.

If we can’t help, we’ll point you to the right place

When you contact us, one of Resolution Officers will help assess whether we are able to deal with your concerns. If we’re not, we will tell you who can and provide you with their contact details. You can find out more about what complaints the MHCC can deal with here.

The MHCC may not be able to change any medical decisions around your treatment or diagnosis. If you disagree with your diagnosis or treatment, you can seek a second psychiatric opinion from a psychiatrist, including from the mental health service where you are receiving treatment or from the free and independent Second Psychiatric Opinion Service (1300 503 426) or apply to the Mental Health Tribunal to cancel your order (1800 242 703)

Your privacy

The MHCC is committed to protecting the privacy of your personal and health information.

When you make a complaint with us, we will not disclose your personal or health information in a way that identifies you, unless you consent, or we are authorised or required to do so by law.

Read more about MHCC’s privacy policy here.

Driven by lived experience

Did you know that all of the MHCC's work is informed and driven by people with lived experience of mental illness and emotional distress including consumers, carers and families?

We work closely with consumers, families, carers, support people and public mental health services to support recovery and drive improvements across Victoria’s public mental health sector. Read more about our lived experience framework here.

You have the right to complain

The MHCC deals with complaints about public mental health services in Victoria.

If you, or someone you care for, has had a negative experience while receiving mental health assessment or treatment, you have the right to make a complaint. You can make the complaint directly to the service or you can contact the MHCC. Find out more about making a complaint with the MHCC here.

It is important to remember that complaints can help improve the Victorian mental health system for you and other people.

When you make a complaint with the MHCC, we will seek your consent before we contact the service. One of our Resolution Officers will contact you to make sure we understand your concerns and what you would like to achieve.

If your complaint is about someone else’s experience, we usually need to seek their consent before taking the complaint forward.

Find out more about making a complaint about someone else's experiences here.

We will resolve your concerns quickly, if possible

When you contact us to make a complaint, we may try to help you to resolve your concerns quickly. For example, by speaking with a staff member at the service about your complaint if you agree.

If we can’t resolve your concerns quickly, and if there are more steps that the MHCC can take, we will talk to you further about your options.

Our Resolution Officers can help you to put your complaint in writing so we can progress your concerns through a more formal resolutions process.

The ‘4 As’ of complaint resolution

In taking your complaint forward, we may help you to talk to the service directly about your complaint/concerns or arrange a meeting with you and the service to discuss what happened, how to resolve the complaint and what will happen next. In considering the outcomes you are seeking; you may want to think about the ‘4 As’ of complaint resolution:

Acknowledgement – of the concerns raised and the impact that this has had on you or the person you care for.

Answers – to questions about the way the service was provided or why events occurred.

Action – taken by the service to address your concerns or wider service improvements that are identified and implemented through the complaint process.

Apology – by the service where it might be appropriate.

Read more about the 4 A’s of complaint resolution here.

Your complaint could improve the system

Did you know that complaints made to the MHCC or directly to public mental health services can result in changes or improvements made to services?

Sharing your experience can help both the MHCC and services to identify improvements that can be made for consumers and carers as we work towards a better system for the future. You can call us on 1800 246 054 or email us at help@mhcc.vic.gov.au to make a complaint.

Find out more about a positive complaints culture and why it’s OK to Complain! here.

Find out more about Mental Health RIghts and Principles according to the Mental Health Act 2014 (Vic) here.

Reviewed 22 December 2022

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