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VTMH and the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System

The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System has concluded and transformative change is underway.

The final report

The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System has concluded and delivered a comprehensive final report to parliament in February 2021.

The work of VTMH is considered in volumes 1 and 3, including a case study.

How VTMH got involved

The Commission commenced in 2019 and VTMH engaged with the work of the Commission in several ways.

  • In February 2019, the Victorian community was asked to help set the Commission’s terms of reference. Read our submission in full here.  
  • We joined calls to make community consultations more inclusive and ensure Commission information is available in community languages
  • The VTMH Manager appeared as an expert witness. As part of a week-long focus on LGBTIQ+ and culturally and linguistically diverse communities, Adriana Mendoza appeared at a public hearing in May 2019. Read her expert witness statement  here.
  • The VTMH team spoke with policy officers about culturally responsive service design and empowering communities
  • We facilitated a roundtable event with the Commission. Chair of the Royal Commission  Penny  Armytage, Commissioner Dr Alex Cockram, Commission directors, and principal policy officers met with members of the VTMH team and VTMH Reference Group. The discussion considered three themes:  community, consumers  and carer perspectives, workforce development, as well as governance, data and research. The issues are summarised here.

We highlighted how health and illness experiences are mediated by power and culture. Mental health and wellbeing mean many things within and across groups.

The evidence is clear; inequality harms health and wellbeing and, for many, help is beyond their reach.

The road to reform

VTMH welcomes the detailed recommendations: the renewed focus on the lived experience of people who used mental health services, their families, carers and supporters and commitments to co-design; prioritising workforce development; a new mental health and wellbeing act; and resourcing a redesigned service system that is inclusive of care, treatment and psychosocial support.

We also welcome the proposed Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing and other opportunities to bring people together – lived experience voices, researchers, practitioners and communities. Collaboration, underpinned by commitments to equity and social justice, will enable the optimal development of mental health services, and deliver the best possible outcomes for all people living with mental and wellbeing concerns.

We need a diversity, equity and inclusion framework for mental health services, and to adopt culturally safe and responsive practices, hand-in-hand with engaging communities and community-based agencies as partners.