Mental Health Complaints Commissioner

Catalysts for cultural change in Victoria's public mental health services

3 August 2017

There are many paths towards cultural change, but what are the catalysts? 

In response to our abstract submission for the TheMHS Conference 2017, the event will now include a symposium where mental health commissioners and commissions from across Australia and NZ explore this very topic.

Commissioner Lynne Coulson Barr will discuss how our team is working with services to improve quality and safety outcomes, and the cultural shift that is required for services to embrace complaints as an integral part of recovery, a window to a person’s lived experience, and a catalyst for improving services and the system as a whole.

For people experiencing mental health issues, their interactions with the mental health system can be distressing and raise concerns about whether their rights have been upheld.

‘For families and carers, there can be considerable stress and anxiety about their loved one’s wellbeing and safety,’ Commissioner Coulson Barr said.

‘It is imperative for mental health services to always seek to protect and uphold people’s rights, and consistently look for ways to improve their processes and policies to place the person at the centre of their treatment and care.’ 

At the conference, Commissioner Coulson Barr will also join Keir Saltmarsh, the MHCC’s Senior Education and Engagement Officer, to present Bringing the lived experience in: Establishing an effective advisory council.

Our aim was to establish a council where members could share their knowledge and expertise, and provide advice across a range of areas, including the needs and priorities of people with lived experience in relation to overcoming barriers and implementing effective complaint processes.

‘We will walk participants through the process that we undertook to recruit a dedicated, inclusive and diverse group of people with lived experience of the public mental health system, and who share our goals,’ Commissioner Coulson Barr said.

‘We will also explore the work involved in ensuring members worked together as a collaborative and cohesive team empowered to advise on, and help drive, organisational strategy within the MHCC, and cultural change within the sector.’

The TheMHS Conference 2017 will run from 29 August to 1 September at Hilton Sydney.