The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission is an independent statutory authority that holds government to account for the performance, quality and safety of Victoria’s mental health and wellbeing system.
Our role is to provide system oversight and system monitoring so that the mental health and wellbeing system improves people’s experiences and outcomes and adapts to the needs and expectations of the Victorian community. The MHWC:
- Supports people with lived experience to lead and partner in reform and play a key role in leading actions to reduce stigma related to mental health
- Provides a system-monitoring and oversight role, handles complaints, conducts investigations, and promotes effective complaint handling by Mental Health and Wellbeing Service Providers (Vic)
- Will publish reports on the performance, quality and safety of the mental health and wellbeing system and progress towards improving mental health and wellbeing of Victorians.
Overview of the Act – key changes for the MHWC and Victorian public mental health and wellbeing services
The MHWC operates under the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022 (the Act). The Act commenced on 1 September 2023, replacing the previous Mental Health Act 2014.
As an independent body, we have the powers needed to perform functions, including to deal with complaints, initiate investigations, and conduct inquiries into any matter related to our objectives and functions.
Some of our powers under the Act include:
- To promote and protect the rights of consumers, families, carers and supporters
- Obtain and share data
- To hold the government to account for the performance, quality and safety of Victoria’s mental health and wellbeing system
- To report on the performance, quality, and safety of the mental health system
- To make recommendations to the Premier, Minister and heads of public service bodies
- To promote and support compliance with the Act and report significant breaches of the Act to the Health Secretary.
A key change in the Act means service providers will need to make all reasonable efforts to comply with and give proper consideration to the principles within the Act when making decisions.
Complaints made before 1 September 2023
Any complaints made with the MHCC that remained open on 1 September were automatically carried over to the new Commission. MHCC’s Resolutions’ staff have transferred all complaints to the MHWC, so services should continue working to progress existing complaints.
Which Act will a complaint be dealt with under?
From 1 September 2023, a complaint will be dealt with depending upon when the events occurred.
- Complaints made before 1 September will be progressed under the Mental Health Act (2014)
- Complaints made from 1 September 2023 about events that occurred after 1 September 2023 will be progressed under the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022
- Complaints made from 1 September 2023 about events that occurred before 1 September 2023 will be progressed under the Mental Health and Wellbeing Act 2022, but only if they were complaints that could have been accepted before 1 September 2023 under the Mental Health Act 2014.
While the MHWC has launched with an interim brand, we are currently underway with updating and developing promotional materials and information on the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission to help services refer consumers, carers and families to our services.
It will take some time before final branding is prepared for the new commission, which will be co-designed with people with lived experience of mental ill health or psychological, social and emotional distress.
Once these materials are created, we will update our website with them and mail our print resources to Victorian public mental health and wellbeing services.