Speaking up to improve the mental health system

Not all service users of Victoria’s public mental health system have a positive experience. But formal complaints play a crucial role in improving services and helping consumers feel safe and supported.

In 2021, following the final report handed down by the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, Victoria’s Mental Health Complaints Commissioner (MHCC) approached Design Democracy to help craft the It’s OK to Complain campaign. The MHCC is an independent body that safeguards the rights of consumers, resolving grievances and recommending crucial improvements to Victoria’s public mental health services.

The primary aim of the campaign was to improve consumer and service engagement with the MHCC. To achieve this, we developed a friendly and affirming visual identity that would communicate approachability. A warm colour palette, and attention-grabbing speech bubbles demystify the process of making a complaint, demonstrating that to speak up is to start a meaningful conversation. 
Proactive and client-centric, the campaign was distributed to mental health service locations in the form of posters and postcards, targeting consumers, carers and service staff. The enduring message is that all complaints will be heard, taken seriously and acted upon. To speak more directly to target demographics, we included LGBTQI+ and ATSI flags as speech bubble extensions.

In the lead-up to the April 2022 launch, we organised advance print collateral and digital assets to preview the campaign at the January Midsumma Festival. It’s OK to Complain campaign masks demonstrated a practical pride alliance at one of Melbourne’s first major post-Covid events, avoiding the single-use plastic and silicone merchandise so often found in festival showbags.


The friendly and affirming visual identity communicates approachability. 

Speech bubble brand extensions speak directly to target demographics. 

The brand demonstrates that to speak up is to start a meaningful conversation.

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