Who we are

The Mental Health Commission of New South Wales is an independent statutory agency responsible for monitoring, reviewing and improving mental health and wellbeing for people in NSW.

The Commission works with government and the community to secure better mental health and wellbeing for everyone, and availability of appropriate supports in or close to home when people are unwell or at risk of becoming unwell.

In all its work, the Commission is guided by the voice  of people with lived experience of mental health issues and caring, their families and kinship groups. The Commission promotes policies and practices that recognise the autonomy of people who experience mental health issues and support their recovery, emphasising their personal and social needs and preferences.

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 with lived experience of mental health issues and caring, their families and kinship groups. Living Well set out a 10-year vision for mental health and wellbeing for everyone in NSW.

Read more about the Living Well reforms and the updated mental health strategy for NSW: Living Well in Focus 2020-2024.

The Commission was established under the Mental Health Commission Act 2012 and reports to the Minister for Mental Health. The Commission is responsible for promoting the governing principles of the Act, which also requires public sector agencies to work co-operatively in providing services and supports to people with mental illness.

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

The NSW Minister for Mental Health is the Honourable Bronwyn Taylor MLC.

The Path Forward

In 2018, the Commission had its five-year statutory review as a means of checking how the Mental Health Commission model, which is used across Australia and internationally, is working in NSW. The Review’s top line finding was that the Commission had met its functions under the Mental Health Commission Act 2012.

The Review made recommendations on how the Commission could best work going forward, including some changes to our functions and focus areas. At this time, the Commission took the opportunity to develop a strategic plan – Key Directions 2018-2023  – to guide the next five years. Read the Commission’s response to the Review recommendations here.

The Commission’s work over the next five years to 2023 will focus on advocacy, strategic planning and systemic reviews. The work will highlight gaps, successes and leading practice as well as opportunities for reform critical to improve people’s journeys through the mental health system and throughout life. 

Strategic Objectives

Guided by six over-arching strategic objectives over the next five years, the Commission will strive to add value to the effort of others and improve the mental health and wellbeing of the community.

  1. Working together: Forging a collaborative culture between people, services and sectors to improve pathways to care and supports.
  2. Striving for excellence: Advocating for services that are safe, evidence-based, reflect the needs of people, reflect a compassionate and caring culture, and are experienced positively.
  3. Fair access: Advocating for a fair allocation of resources and access to services and supports for everyone to achieve equitable outcomes.
  4. Getting in early: Responding early and whenever distress, mental health issues or trauma impact upon wellbeing.
  5. Communities of wellbeing: Empowering people to drive positive change and connections to enhance individual and community wellbeing.
  6. Improving outcomes: Developing innovative approaches and establishing outcome monitoring and reporting to influence a mental health and social support system that delivers quality outcomes for people regardless of complexity and challenges of need.

Strategic Priorities

Over the next three years, the Commission will focus on the following six strategic priority areas:

  • suicide prevention
  • early intervention
  • improved wellbeing
  • co-production
  • collaboration and capacity building
  • accountability and reporting

The Commission will continue to take a collaborative approach and ensure the work under each strategic objective and priority will be guided by the voices of people with lived experience of mental health issues and caring, their families and kinship groups.

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Last updated: 18 December 2020