About Lynne Coulson Barr
Lynne Coulson Barr is the inaugural Mental Health Complaints Commissioner in Victoria, Australia, a statutory appointment under the Victorian Mental Health Act 2014. The act provides broad powers to investigate and resolve complaints and disputes about treatment and care in public mental health services. This position is unique to Australia, and was created as part of mental health legislative reforms to provide 1) a specialist 2) an accessible process for people with mental illness and their families and 3) a way to resolve complaints about their experiences with mental health services, through informal and formal dispute resolution processes, including statutory conciliation.
Through her work as Mental Health Complaints Commissioner and her previous role as Deputy Disability Services Commissioner, Dr. Coulson Barr has pioneered approaches that improve access and participation of people with disabilities and mental health issues, along with support for families and caregivers, in complaint resolution processes. She has demonstrated her commitment to working with people accessing mental health and disability services, families, caregivers, and services to ensure that complaints are resolved in ways that safeguard peoples’ rights and support their recovery, and are seen as opportunities to improve services for all Victorians.
Dr. Coulson Barr has promoted a focus on increasing the accessibility of complaint resolution processes and safeguarding the rights of people with mental health issues and disabilities among statutory bodies dealing with complaints about discrimination and health and disability services, with many of these bodies seeking her counsel on resolution models and approaches to safeguarding people’s rights. She has also contributed to the development and review of complaint handling standards and practice guides in Australia, and provided training on effective responses to complaints.
In recognition of her significant contribution to social justice in the Victorian community, Dr. Coulson Barr was welcomed into the Victorian Honour Role of Women in March 2014. She works to promote mental health and prevention of violence in her role as Ambassador for their Alumni and Ambassadors program.
Dr. Coulson Barr specializes in statutory mediation and conciliation processes involving people with mental illness and disabilities, and their service providers.
She was accredited as a mediator and conciliator through the National Mediator Accreditation Scheme in Australia.