The Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) welcomes the release of the Mental Health Royal Commission’s Final Report and the Government’s commitment to fully implementing all 65 recommendations.
The VMC is pleased that the Royal Commission has outlined a new mental health and wellbeing system that’s centred on a community-based model of care, one that will be built on compassion, one that will focus on the leadership of people with lived experience of mental illness or psychological distress and one that values and supports families, carers and supporters.
The Final Report also captures a critical principal and element of the VMC’s submission to the Royal Commission, and the submissions of many others from the multicultural sector, in that it recommends that the Victorian Government ensure the active engagement of Victoria’s diverse communities throughout the process of planning, implementing and managing the reformed mental health and wellbeing system (start of recommendation 34).
The VMC’s submission, again, like many other submissions from the multicultural sector, made a range of recommendations, such as:
- the need for better data collation and research
- improving workforce diversity
- strengthening funding agreements and accountabilities
- improving cultural competency
- improving the use of interpreters and supporting professional development
- the need for tailored communication and community engagement
- supporting multicultural service delivery and communities; and
- the need to address racism and discrimination.
It is pleasing that the Royal Commission has directly or indirectly covered all of these issues and emphasised throughout the substantive report the importance of acknowledging and addressing access and equity for diverse communities. This is highlighted particularly through Volume 3 of the Final Report entitled Promoting inclusion and addressing inequities. The introduction to Volume 3 states:
The new system will also have increased oversight and accountability for supporting the mental health and wellbeing of Victoria’s diverse communities.
People who identify as LGBTIQ+; refugees; asylum seekers; people living with disabilities; and people from culturally diverse backgrounds are exposed to a range of factors, including stigma and discrimination that increase the likelihood they will have poor mental health outcomes.
The VMC welcomes the Final Report’s focus on the needs of First Nations people’s social and emotional wellbeing as well as coverage of specific cohorts and intersectional issues and relationships including the needs of young people, the elderly, rural and regional communities and LGBTIQ+ communities.
The appointment of a Chief Officer for Mental Health and Wellbeing is also welcomed, particularly given that the Final Report calls for the position to ensure the active engagement of Victoria’s diverse communities throughout the process of planning, implementing and managing the reformed mental health and wellbeing system. The VMC looks forward to working with the Chief Officer for Mental Health and Wellbeing, the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing and the Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities on the Final Report’s recommendation of the development of a diverse communities’ mental health and wellbeing framework.
The VMC also looks forward to working with the Government and across departments to ensure that the multicultural sector is engaged as an active partner in the design, planning and implementation phases of the new system.
Thank you to everyone who made a submission to the Royal Commission, particularly the people who shared their personal and difficult stories. Your contributions have helped formulate this Final Report that will lead to a better mental health and wellbeing system for all.
Reviewed 23 June 2021