What the Royal Commission said
The Royal Commission recommends that the Victorian Government:
- legislate the role of Chief Officer for Mental Health and Wellbeing to lead the Mental Health and Wellbeing Division in the Department of Health. Set out in that legislation that this Chief Officer is at the level of a Deputy Secretary.
- empower the Chief Officer to take responsibility for the implementation of the Royal Commission's recommendations, unless otherwise stated in these recommendations.
- transfer the functions of Mental Health Reform Victoria (established as part of the Interim Report's Recommendation 9) to the Division by mid-2021.
- ensure the mental Health and Wellbeing Division employs people with lived experience of mental illness or psychological distress, and people with lived experience of caring for someone living with mental illness in multiple positions, including leadership positions.
What are the opportunities?
This recommendation provides guidance on how mental health structures, roles and responsibilities should be set out in the Department of Health. It signals a shift in the leadership of mental health and the reform efforts over the longer term.
The designation of lived experience leadership in the new executive structure provides the opportunity to advance the rebalancing of lived experience voices into decision making, policy and program design, and the wider mental health system structures.
What are we doing?
We are transferring the functions of Mental Health Reform Victoria (MHRV) to the new Mental Health and Wellbeing Division in the Department of Health. This change happened on 26 July 2021. The Victorian Government established MHRV in 2020 to start early implementation work. This was in response to the Royal Commission's Interim Report Recommendation 9.
As part of the transition and restructure of the Division, roles have been created for people with lived experience. This includes people with lived experience of mental illness or psychological distress. It also includes people with lived experience of caring for someone living with mental illness. They will be appointed in multiple positions, including leadership positions.