Who we are

The Mental Health Commission of NSW is an independent statutory agency responsible for monitoring, reviewing and improving mental health and wellbeing for people in NSW. It works with Government and the community to secure better mental health and wellbeing for everyone, to prevent mental illness and to ensure the availability of appropriate supports in or close to home when people are unwell or at risk of becoming unwell.

View the Commission's legislation: Mental Health Commission Act 2012 

The current minister for mental health in NSW is the Honourable Tanya Davies MP

In all its work, the Commission is guided by the lived experience of people with mental illness and their families and carers. The Commission promotes policies and practices that recognise the autonomy of people who experience mental illness and support their recovery, emphasising their personal and social needs and preferences as well as broader health 

The Commission works in three main ways:

  • Advocating, educating and advising about positive change to mental health policy, practice and systems in order to support better responses to people who experience mental illness, and their families and carers.
  • Partnering with community-managed organisations, academic institutions, professional groups or government agencies to support the development of better approaches to the provision of mental health services and improved community wellbeing, and promote their wide adoption. 
  • Monitoring and reviewing the current system of mental health supports and progress towards achieving the Actions in the Strategic Plan, and providing this information to the community and the mental health sector in ways that encourage positive change.

In December 2014, the NSW Government adopted Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014-2024, developed by the Commission following consultation with more than 2,000 people and organisations, including 800 people who experience mental illness and their families and carers.

Living Well, which sets out a 10 year vision for better mental health and wellbeing, includes 141 Actions that together will create a strong platform for better mental health and wellbeing for everyone in NSW.

Read more about the Living Well reforms.

Our guiding statements

  • A person’s mental health is dependent upon their general well being which is influenced by their social, emotional, physical, cultural and spiritual health.
  • People who experience mental illness should receive the care and support they need, at the time they need it, and as close to where they live as possible.
  • Responsibility for providing this care and support is shared between the Commonwealth and NSW Governments and the community.
  • People who experience mental illness, their families and carers should be treated with respect and dignity.
  • People who experience mental illness, their families and carers should be given all the information they need to be meaningful participants in making decisions about their own recovery.
  • Government and the community must support people who experience mental illness and their families and carers to lead full and rewarding lives. This should be done by providing person-centred care and support, and by taking a coordinated and integrated approach at a local level across all levels of government and non-government sectors, including housing, employment, health, education and justice.

In reviewing and monitoring the NSW mental health system the lens through which we will examine things will be to determine whether they assist people who experience mental illness to remain well in the community.
Mental Health Commissioner of NSW, John Feneley
Commission Launch, Government House 
15 October 2012

In June 2015 the Commission called for an independent evaluation of its work by stakeholders. Download the report, which includes responses from the Commission:

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Last updated: 23 April 2018