Strengthening governance, accountability, data and transparency in the mental health system

Strengthening governance, accountability, data and transparency in the mental health system

Monday, 30 September 2019

This is the final article in a series drawing on our six key areas of focus from our submission to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

Improving governance and accountability in the mental health system is crucial to ensuring it works effectively for the Victorian community.

Our submission to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System highlights the need for stronger oversight and governance mechanisms, and a focus on collecting and using better data.

‘Currently, there’s a gap between the rights and recovery-focused system promised in the Mental Health Act, and the reality experienced by consumers in Victoria,’ Executive Director, Civil Justice, Access and Equity, Rowan McRae said. 

‘Despite carefully thought out legislation, more needs to be done to bring about genuine cultural and systemic change.’

The Act was intended to reduce the use of compulsory treatment, with a preference for voluntary treatment, but a lack of transparent data means this can’t be easily tracked.

There is very limited publicly available data regarding the mental health system, including information on how many people are subject to compulsory treatment, where they live, their age, gender, cultural background, type and length of order, and complaints.

‘Data is critical to designing and evaluating services, providing consumers with choice, and it is a key part of ensuring accountability,’ Rowan said.

‘The Royal Commission should form a view about what a good system looks like, and then recommend the measures and processes needed to get there.’

In our view, this should include better training and support to drive the cultural and practical changes required by the Act.

People with a lived experience of mental health issues should lead the design and delivery of a training strategy for mental health services.

The Royal Commission presents an opportunity to put in place the necessary processes to support a mental health system which is meeting the needs of consumers, as identified by them, and to respond appropriately when it is not.

More information

Read our submission to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

Read more on the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System website.

 

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