RANZCP welcomes new Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission for Victoria

The peak body for psychiatrists has welcomed the appointment of a new Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission in Victoria, led by Chair Commissioner Treasure Jennings who will be supported by Commissioners Annabel Brebner, Jacqueline Gibson and (Kathleen) Maggie Toko.

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) Victorian Chair, Dr Astha Tomar, said the Commission would play a pivotal role in realising the vision of the Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System (RCVMHS).

"The Commission's establishment, with a substantially broader role than that of the former Mental Health Complaints Commissioner, can appropriately balance governance and oversight within the Victorian mental health and wellbeing system," Dr Tomar said.

"We particularly welcome the inclusion of carers and consumers in the Commission as integral parts of the co-design process in the reform of the state's mental health infrastructure.

"We look forward to the Commission holding government to account for the functioning of Victoria's mental health and wellbeing in a manner that is safe, effective, culturally responsive and capable of addressing Victorians' wide-ranging mental health needs.

"We are optimistic that the Commission will consider the concerns we have raised in our submission to the Royal Commission and during our consultations with the Victorian Department of Health, primarily around improving patient outcomes and capacity building within the workforce."

Dr Tomar said that psychiatrists hope there will be a greater focus on the importance of governance and funding models to support and incentivise the best available and integrated care with the new Commission.

The RANZCP in Victoria is calling for an improved monitoring and evaluation process embedded across and within mental health and wellbeing services as key to better mental health outcomes.

"The process must be developed collaboratively with the clinical workforce and those with lived experience to meet the key performance indicators that focus on patient outcomes and are therapeutic.

"Confronting the new Commission is a valuable opportunity to reshape Victoria's mental health system into one which meets the needs of Victorians now and into the future, as recommended by the Royal Commission.

"We are looking forward to working with the newly appointed Commissioners to ensure that people living with mental illness or people in psychological distress, as well as their families and carers, have the support they need, wherever and whenever they need it.”

L-R in photo Jo Balmforth RANZCP Victorian Branch Policy and Advocacy Advisor Sharon McGowan - RANZCP CEO Commissioner – Kathleen Maggie Toko (lived experience consumer) Chair Commissioner – Treasure Jennings Commissioner – Jacqueline Gibson (lived experience carer) Commissioner – Annabel Brebner Dr Astha Tomar - RANZCP Victorian Branch Chair

For all other expert mental health information visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.

ENQUIRIES: For media enquiries or to arrange an interview contact 0437 315 911.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is a membership organisation that prepares medical specialists in the field of psychiatry, supports and enhances clinical practice, advocates for people affected by mental illness and advises governments and other groups on mental health care. For information about our work, our members or our history, visit www.ranzcp.org.

In Australia: If you or someone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or www.lifeline.org.au or the Suicide Callback Service on 1300 659 467 or www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au.

In Aotearoa New Zealand: If you or someone you know needs help, 1737 is here to help, for free - Mental Health. You can also contact Lifeline NZ on 0800 543 354 or www.lifeline.org.nz or the Suicide Crisis Helpline on 0508 828 865 or www.lifeline.org.nz/suicide-prevention.       


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