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Posted on 21 Oct 2022
Mental health

In February 2021, the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, published a five-volume report, consisting of 65 recommendations and a 10-year vision for an improved mental health service for consumers, carers/family members and staff. A key recommendation was that the Mental Health Improvement Program (MHIP) be established within Safer Care Victoria (SCV) to support services in this work. 

In November 2021, the MHIP was established with new team members and the amalgamation of the Office of the Chief Mental Health Nurse.  Today the MHIP is leading several improvement projects, as part of the Safety For All initiative. Our partnerships with people with lived experience is integral to everything we do.

Towards elimination of restrictive practices 

In the Towards the Elimination of Restrictive Practices Breakthrough Series Collaborative, SCV partners with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and 17 inpatient units from 14 participating mental health and wellbeing services across Victoria. The collaborative’s aim is to reduce restrictive practices in mental health inpatient units by 20 per cent by April 2024. The teams are made up of an interdisciplinary mix of clinical and non-clinical staff, including lived experienced consumers and carers. 

On Friday 7 October, the collaborative concluded its first learning session, where services heard about the fundamentals of improvement science, including plan-do-study-act cycles (PDSA) and measurement methods. The learning session was very well received, 95 per cent of participants finding the content valuable and motivating. 

The collaborative is now in Action Period 1, where services are being onboarded to the Team Assurance work platform. SCV’s MHIP will continue to support the teams as they formulate and test their localised change ideas and improvement plans. 

For more information, please contact Project Lead Joanne Yu at

Reducing compulsory treatment 

The MHIP has also recently launched the Reducing Compulsory Treatment in Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Services improvement initiative. This initiative will be consumer led and employ a co-production model that will include 60 per cent lived experience and 40 per cent non-lived experience representatives within the co-design group. 

An integral phase of the initiative will involve journey mapping from a consumer, carer, and clinical perspective in the lead up to and the commencement of compulsory treatment. We'll work with Mental Health and Wellbeing services in Reducing Compulsory Treatment in Community Mental Health Services. The improvement initiative will include people with lived experience, this with clinical backgrounds,  consumers and carers who will co-design the aim and change ideas to support reducing compulsory treatment at the service level. 

Suicide prevention 

The Royal Commission recommended the MHIP support services to implement the Zero Suicide Framework. In 2018, the Gold Coast Mental Health Specialists Service (GCMHSS) implemented the seven elements of the framework. Drawing on the leadership of GCMHSS, the MHIP project team continues to explore the methodology and the outcomes of this implementation.  

We have started recruiting a faculty group to ensure the work is approached with a multi-faceted lens and fills any significant knowledge gaps. 

For further information about Prevention of suicide and suicide attempts or the faculty, please email Project Lead Mary Tsiros at


Safewards is an evidenced based model that will continue to complement and support the initiatives MHIP leads by reducing conflict and containment events and creating more positive working environments for staff. Implemented across all public mental health in-patient units by 2019, Safewards has been trialled in Emergency Departments and General Health Wards, with the evaluation of General Health wards concluding later this year.

We look forward to sharing the results of the trial with the future release of the evaluation report. Find out more information about SCV’s Safewards trials

We would like to thank all the Safewards champions who continue the excellent work within services by promoting and encouraging staff and consumers to take part and experience the positive outcomes. If you have any questions about Safewards, please contact the team at

Equally Well

The Chief Mental Health Nurse, Anna Love continues to engage with services about the implementation of the Equally Well in Victoria framework at their services. In March 2019, the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist and Office of the Chief Mental Health Nurse jointly published Equally Well in Victoria: Physical health framework for specialist mental health services. The framework highlights the importance of addressing the physical health needs of consumers in recognition of the significant physical health and life expectancy disparities that exist for people with ongoing mental health issues.

We are planning to elevate, share and promote the work that is taking place under this framework. Find out more about the framework.

If you have any questions about Equally Well in Victoria, please contact the team at 

Clinical Supervision Framework 

In 2023, we will implement resources from five services to provide the state with an online toolkit to locally implement the Clinical supervision for mental health nurses: A framework for Victoria. The suite of resources includes new standards for Victoria and a Community of Practice where change ideas and resources can be shared.

In 2018, the Chief Mental Health Nurse released the principles-based framework that helps guide our public mental health sector to improve the culture, quality, and access to clinical supervision for mental health nurses across the state. This started with a pilot site, Peninsula Health in 2020 and used the learnings from this site to expand to five sites in 2021.