The Mental Health Commission of NSW

The Mental Health Commission of New South Wales is an independent statutory organisation established under the Mental Health Commission Act 2012 and reports to the NSW Minister for Mental Health. 

The Commission was established for the purpose of monitoring, reviewing and improving the mental health and well-being of the people of New South Wales. The Commission is subject to the direction and control of the Minister, except in relation to the preparation and contents of any plan or report prepared by the Commission. The Commission is led by the NSW Mental Health Commissioner appointed by the Governor. The NSW Mental Health Commissioner is supported by an Advisory Board.

More information about the NSW Mental Health Commission is available at

The Mental Health Commission Act 2012 establishes the Commission and sets out its functions, including to:

  • Prepare strategic plans relating to mental health and monitor and report on the implementation of plans
  • review, evaluate, report and advise on the mental health and wellbeing of people, and mental health services and programs
  • promote and facilitate the sharing of knowledge about mental health issues
  • undertake and commission research and innovation
  • advocate for and promote the prevention of mental illness, early intervention and the general health and well-being of people who have a mental illness and their families
  • educate the community about mental health issue.

Section 20 of the Act requires that reviews of the work of the Commission are undertaken at least once every 5 years after the first review, which was completed in 2018. A report on a review is to be tabled in Parliament within 12 months of the review period.

More information on the 2018 review of the Commission is available at 2018 Review of the Mental Health Commission of NSW.

The 2024 Review of the Commission

The 2024 review will consider the work of the Commission, taking into account its functions and the principles governing its work, as outlined in the Act. The review will assess the performance of the Commission since the last review and make recommendations for functional improvement, if required, giving consideration to the enabling power of the Act. Terms of Reference for the Review are available here​.

In November 2023, the Minister for Mental Health approved David McGrath and Associate Professor Richard Matthews AM to undertake the 2024 review of the Mental Health Commission, in order to meet the statutory requirements of the Act. Dr Matthews is a former Deputy Secretary of NSW Health and Mr McGrath is a former Executive Director of the Mental Health Branch. Both have extensive knowledge and experience of mental health systems across Australia and internationally.

The reviewers, on behalf of the Minister, are intending to conduct the review consistent with the indicative sequence below.

Phase 1: Information Gathering

  1. Gather and review all recent documentation on the 2018 review
  2. Review relevant documentation on the implementation of the Living Well, NSW Mental Health Strategic Plan, and other documentation supporting Commission achievements since 2017
  3. Review the draft NSW Suicide Prevention legislation
  4. Identify and source any other necessary data
  5. Establish an Expert Advisory Group.

Phase 2: Consultations

  1. Develop a discussion paper to inform a public consultation process
  2. Distribute the discussion paper to key stakeholders and via the NSW Health online portal, seeking submission from interested parties
  3. Undertake additional consultation with targeted stakeholders
  4. Consult with relevant participants in the Advisory Group structure
  5. Conduct a limited number of consultation forums.

Phase 3: Data Analysis

  1. Analyse available information, data, submissions and other outputs from consultation processes to identify the impact of the Commission in NSW and to assess the activity implemented against the commitments made by government.

Phase 4: Document Development

  1. Develop a document that responds to the statutory requirements contained in the NSW Mental Health Commission Act 2012
  2. Submit a draft document for review and feedback from stakeholders, including the Advisory Group, as agreed with the Minister.

Phase 5: Review, Amendment and Finalisation

  1. Following review of the initial draft, and any required consultation, complete the report for the Minister for Mental Health.

Please note that the review is a statutory review required of the Minister for Mental Health. As such authorisation of the final report for tabling in Parliament lies with the Minister.

Current as at: Wednesday 1 May 2024
Contact page owner: Mental Health