Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System Final Report

We commend the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System final report. It presents a bold, visionary plan to create a mental health and wellbeing system in Victoria. The Commission recognises the failings of the current system and it has reimagined an inclusive way forward. CMY congratulates the Commission and the Victorian Government on their extensive work and their commitment to listening to the voices of young people, communities, and services that support them.

At the heart of this plan is a commitment to not only improve the mental health system through placing people with lived experience at the centre, but to also protect and promote mental health and wellbeing. It is holistic in that it looks “beyond the system, recognising that other social services, such as housing, education and justice, and the places people live, work and connect, shape people’s mental health and wellbeing.” (Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System (2021), Final Report, vol. 1, p. xi)

Emily Unity, a young person who is involved with CMY’s REVERB mental health program, said:

“I was over the moon about the emphasis on lived experience in the report. I believe lived experience is critical to ensuring we have more inclusive, accessible, and relevant support for all Victorians, regardless of background, ability, or identity.”

CMY is heartened by the recognition of the central role that communities and social connectedness play in protecting wellbeing and creating a sense of belonging, and that working alongside families, carers and supporters is the key. We are also pleased to see the Commission call for the Victorian Government to resource and build on its commitment to addressing racism and discrimination as a critical factor in protecting mental health and wellbeing.

CMY is pleased to see the Commission’s strong emphasis on young people. There is much to be optimistic about – including the holistic focus on promoting good mental health and wellbeing; commitment to equity of outcomes for those from migrant and refugee backgrounds and strong accountability measures; emphasis on partnership with local communities; and recognition that prevention and early intervention is critical in terms of good outcomes for young people, including diversion from the youth justice system.

“The report is proof that listening and valuing the voices of people affected by mental health can help us create a clear roadmap,” CEO Carmel Guerra said.

“We are deeply encouraged by the vision and roadmap that has been put forward, and urge the Victorian Government to continue to engage meaningfully with multicultural young people and their communities to implement the recommendations.”

Some key recommendations include:

Young people

  • The creation of 13 Infant, Child and Youth Area Mental Health and Wellbeing Services and statewide services (Rec. 3)
  • New models of multidisciplinary care for bed-based services for young people that are delivered in a range of settings (Rec. 21)
  • Creation of four safe space facilities across the state, comprising a mix of drop-in spaces and crisis response services, co-designed with and for young people (Rec. 9)
  • Supporting social wellbeing in schools, through anti-stigma and anti-bullying programs (with a particular focus on schools rural and regional areas) (Rec. 17)
  • Increased and co-designed support for young carers (Rec. 32)
  • Supported housing for young people experiencing mental illness (Rec 25)
  • Expanding specialist youth forensic mental health programs to a statewide model to provide treatment, care and support to children and young people involved in the youth justice system (Rec. 37)

Cultural diversity

  • Creation of a Mental Health and Wellbeing Outcomes Framework for accountability across services and government, to address inequity (Rec. 1)
  • Engaging Victoria’s diverse communities throughout the process of planning, implementing and managing the reformed mental health and wellbeing system (Rec 34)
  • Supporting Victoria’s diverse communities and community-led organisations to:
    • design and deliver mental health and wellbeing information and awareness campaigns; and
    • assist their communities to navigate the mental health and wellbeing system (Rec 34).

Wellbeing, stigma, trauma support and suicide prevention

  • Supporting community-led and co-designed approaches to reducing stigma in the community (Rec. 42)
  • Establishing and ongoing resourcing of ‘community collectives’ for mental health and wellbeing in each local government area, to promote social connection and inclusion (Rec. 15)
  • Establishment of a Mental Health and Wellbeing Promotion Office, to promote good mental health and wellbeing, and prevent mental ill-health (Rec. 2)
  • Establishment of statewide trauma service (Rec. 23)
  • Trauma specialists located in Youth Area Mental Health and Wellbeing Services (Rec. 24)
  • Establishment of a new Suicide Prevention and Response Office, to work alongside those with lived experience, including family members and carers (Rec. 26)

The full report is available at: