Collaboration • Knowledge • Leadership
Speech presented at the Mental Health Victoria Annual General Meeting by MHV CEO Marcelle Mogg.
I'm delighted to be speaking to you today as the CEO of Mental Health Victoria.
I've been delighted to join the team at Mental Health Victoria, since July, and to work in partnership with the Board, so many of you as members, and with our team in pursuing the reform of the sector to realize better mental health outcomes for all Victorians.
I also wish to thank the members online today, particularly, and those of you in absence, for the very warm welcome that you've extended to me personally, and for your patience and generosity in sharing your wisdom and experience and in helping me to get up to speed and to understand not only the challenges we face, but what some of the solutions might look like. I am genuinely indebted to you for that.
In a similar vein, I wish to thank our Patron, Professor Allan Fels for his remarks today and to thank him for his continued support, and to that of Pat McGorry as our Ambassador as well.
I'm particularly mindful of the observations that Professor Fels has made with respect to the need for collaboration and alternate practices to competitive tendering, in terms of reform. The need for sustained support for those living with psychosocial disability, and the need for employee security in order to build service capacity and capability to sustain those communities.
In noting the address by Damian Ferrie, our Chair, I wish to affirm, and speak to a couple of the points that he has made with regard to the work of Mental Health Victoria, as we look towards 2023.
As has been said before, and my new mantra, at the risk of a three-word slogan, implementation is not transformation. And of course that's not only three words.
Mental Health Victoria has been and will continue to work with the Health Department, with Government, and with each of you as our members to push for greater leadership and attention to the work of transformation.
That's been a key part of what has been missing as I see it to date in this work of reform. This means changing the entrenched ways of designing, commissioning, and operating the system, and the models of care and engagement.
At Mental Health Victoria, as we designed and crafted that document that Damian referred to, The First 100 Days, we're looking to realise the recommendations in the vision of the Royal Commission recommendations.
But I think, quite rightly, we want more.
We want to go beyond that vision to really realise deep transformation and set up a different dynamic for the future.
We recognise, in calling for that, that the work of the Royal Commission arose precisely because of the advocacy over years, and in many cases decades, by people who were subject to the mental health system and by people working as best they could within a system that was failing, fragmented, and massively underfunded.
So I make those observations only to point out that the work of reform can never be regarded as a moment in time. I think that is something that is creeping into some of the thinking amongst those leading the processes.
Mental Health Victoria is committed to challenging that mindset. This is not just a moment in time or a series of activities to be accomplished or achieved.
What, in fact, the Royal Commission gave us was license to continue to reform the system, to continue to respond to community need. And in order to do that, we require consistent political, budgetary, and strategic prioritisation of mental health at a State and a Federal level. This is not something that can be achieved by one sector alone.
We must set in train radically different ways of working together to support and care for Victorians experiencing mental health vulnerability today and in order to promote mental health and wellbeing for all Victorians into the future.
This means that we cannot build a new system using old tools.
We call on the next Victorian Government to work with us to review that strategy of implementation and transformation, to review the spending and resourcing allocation, to review the sequencing and prioritisation of the reform process, and to work to ensure the sustainability of services and specialised care whilst reform is underway.
There's a clear risk at present that that Victorians are facing by default a choice between progressing reform or getting access to care.
This is an unacceptable choice. There must be reliable access to support and care while the system is being redesigned and reconstructed.
So, to conclude, I wish to convey my thanks to my predecessor, Gus Clelland, who I see has been able to join us today – a very warm welcome, Gus – to thank him for his work, to thank the Board, the team and the sector for the work that they've done in establishing Mental Health Victoria as it stands today.
You've created a strong foundation from which we might continue to press for the reform of the sector in order to benefit all Victorians.
I extend my own thanks to Damian Ferrie and to all the members of the Mental Health Victoria Board for your exceptional support of me and our team.
Your leadership and direction is invaluable in helping to ensure that we realize the purpose for which Mental Health Victoria was created.
My thanks again to each of you as members of Mental Health, Victoria who have joined us online today. We can only be effective in our work because of you and your engagement with us.
We rely on you sharing your experience, the experience of your consumers, of carers, clinicians, and staff.
Our voice is your voice.
And finally, my thanks to the Mental Health Victoria team. You've been incredibly patient through 2022 as we work through a series of changes and challenges, internal and external, and your commitment to serve the members and community that is Mental Health Victoria has been constant throughout. So as individuals, and as a team, I extend my sincere thanks to each of you.
I really look forward to 2023, and the opportunity to influence for real and necessary change across the mental health sector.
I welcome the expertise and the guidance of consumers and carers with lived and living experience, and the many dedicated and committed service providers, colleagues, and clinicians who are looking to work together in partnership to bring about that more compassionate, effective, and accessible mental health system that we know will benefit all Victorians today and tomorrow.
Thanks so much for the opportunity and the privilege of working with you. It's an absolute honour.