VMIAC’s involvement with the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System

Thank you to all who made this report possible! We are excited to see how the Royal Commission listen to our thoughts and recommendations, and implement necessary changes into Victoria’s Mental Health System!

Following the establishment of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health Services in early 2019, VMIAC worked to ensure that the voice of lived experience was placed at the centre of what could be considered the biggest mental health system reform opportunity in recent history.

Utilising peer support specialists, a network of consumer advocates and systemic advocacy work, we supported our members and the broader consumer community to provide input into the Royal Commission through individual and group submissions; community roundtable consultations; hearings; and our organisational systemic responses.

Many consumers, fed up with a system that is broken and harmful, welcomed the opportunity to finally have their stories heard, asserting the integral part that lived experience must play in creating a system that is safe, fair and responsive to all.

In November 2019, the Commission released its Interim Report outlining nine initial recommendations. In response to the Interim Report, VMIAC prioritised understanding the views and opinions of consumers on the five recommendations where lived experience -informed design and development was essential.

Given that the Interim Report recommendations were made largely in response to hearing the harms and failures of Victoria’s mental health system, in our next phase of consultations, VMIAC took a strengths based approach – broadly structuring our workshops and surveys around the question “What does the mental health system look like, when it is working brilliantly?” The intention of this was to ensure that the implementation of these recommendations would be guided by the real wants and needs of consumers, rather than quick fixes that would merely remedy the ills within the current system.