Mental Health
Complaints Commisioner
2017 Highlights

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The MHCC is an independent specialist statutory body established under the Mental Health Act 2014

At the heart of our work is a focus on safeguarding the rights of people receiving mental health treatment

We support consumers, families and carers to raise their concerns or make a complaint directly to mental health services or our office

Our education and engagement work focuses on improving people’s understanding of their right to make a complaint and building the capacity of service to respond effectively to people’s complaints

We work to ensure that people accessing mental health services understand their right to make a complaint and are confident in raising their concerns with us, or directly with the service.

In 2016-17, we established the MHCC’s Advisory Council to facililitate opportunities for people with lived experience, including consumers, families, carers and people working in services to shape and participate in our work.

Resolving complaints in 2016-17

new enquiries and complaints received
00 %
of complaints closed with positive outcomes through MHCC processes and/or direct resolution actions by services
average matters open at any one time
complaints reported by public mental health services for 2016 calendar year
00 %
oral complaints
00 %
of services provided local complaints reports

Consumers raised 0000(00%) and family members and carers raised 000(00%) of the new enquiries and complaints made.

00% of complaints were assisted with resolution actions and closed within one week, 00% within a month.

Issues raised in complaints

00 %
00 %
communication, consultation & information
00 %
staff behaviour, competence & professional conduct
00 %
00 %
access to services
00 %
discharge & transfer arrangements
00 %
environment, personal safety & management of the facility


Effective communication builds a foundation of trust. It is essential in supporting people to understand their rights and to make and participate in decisions about their treatment and care.

This scenario is based on a consumer's lived experience, and was co-produced with members of the MHCC Advisory Council.

This year we produced individual reports on mental health services complaints data. We work with services to use this data to identify quality and safety issues.

Improving services and the mental health system as a whole

service improvements identified as outcomes of complaints, bringing the total number to 199 service improvement actions over the past two years
investigations conducted
formal recommendations to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services on systemic policy and practice issues
contributions to sector consultations, projects and submissions

Service improvements included

  • changes to policies and procedures
  • review of practices
  • training and feedback provided to staff

Examples of service improvements

  • Changes to policies and procedures about discharge planning
  • Improved distribution of information about patient rights
  • Staff better able to support families and carers to make a complaint
  • Changes to inpatient unit environments to improve safety

Recommendations to the Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services

  • 1 Clinical guidelines for the management of shared care arrangements with private medical practitioners
  • 2 Courtyard design in acute inpatient units
  • 3 Discharge planning
  • 4 Access to disability services for mental health consumers and protocols for coordinated responses and care planning

Investigations and Projects

  • Four investigations conducted in 2016-17 and will be finalised in 2017-18
  • Strategic project initiated to review and analyse issues identified in investigations and other complaints received about sexual safety in inpatient enviroments
  • Project findings will inform recommendations to services, the Chief Psychiatrist and the Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services on ways to ensure safety of people receiving mental health services

Strengthening education and engagement with the sector

people involved in our education and engagement activities including consumers, families, carers, service staff and other stakeholders
direct education and engagement activities including presentations, training sessions and other direct engagement activities
stakeholder engagement activities

Education and engagement activities for consumers, carers, families, services and other stakeholders in 2016-17

education sessions reaching 848 people
targeted education & outreach activities reaching 222 people
consumer/carer engagement activities reaching 345 people
articles published in mental health journals and health publications
stakeholder engagement activities
social media followers

Working with services to develop effective responses to complaints.

This scenario is based on a consumer's lived experience, and was co-produced with members of the MHCC Advisory Council.

Promoting awareness and accessibility to

  • Aboriginal people
  • People from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, including refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds
  • LGBTI Victorians
  • People with disabilities, and
  • Young and older people.

Supporting cultural change and people to speak up about their concerns and experiences

This insight into barriers and enablers to making a complaint captures experiences of consumers, family members and carers, and was co-produced with members of the MHCC Advisory Council.

Speak up.
Your experience matters.