Victoria's Chief Psychiatrist is Dr Neil Coventry.

Dr Coventry is a consultant psychiatrist with qualifications in child and adolescent psychiatry. He was Clinical Director of the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services at Austin Health for over 20 years, and more recently was the Deputy Chief Psychiatrist for Children and Youth. 

Dr Coventry has special interests in trauma, family therapy, eating disorders and suicide prevention. He has worked closely with consumer and carer groups to improve safety and quality of our public mental health services. He was involved in the implementation of the Mental Health Act 2014.

Role of the Chief Psychiatrist

The Chief Psychiatrist:

  • provides clinical leadership and promotes continuous improvement in the quality and safety of mental health services
  • promotes the rights of people receiving mental health treatment in public mental health services
  • provides clinical leadership through developing guidelines and undertaking clinical reviews, audits and investigations
  • is responsible for monitoring restrictive practices, electroconvulsive therapy and reportable deaths.

The role of the Chief Psychiatrist under the Mental Health Act 2014 is to:

  • provide clinical leadership and expert clinical advice to public mental health services
  • promote continuous improvement in the quality and safety of mental health services
  • promote the rights of persons receiving mental health treatment from public mental health services
  • provide advice to the Minister and the Secretary about the provision of mental health services.


The functions of the Chief Psychiatrist are to:

  • develop and assist mental health service providers to comply with standards, guidelines and practice directions
  • develop and provide information, training and education to promote improved quality and safety
  • monitor the provision of mental health services in order to improve quality and safety
  • assist mental health service providers to comply with the Mental Health Act, regulations and codes of practice
  • conduct clinical practice audits and clinical reviews
  • analyse data, undertake research and publish information about mental health services and treatment
  • publish an annual report
  • give direction to mental health service providers about providing mental health services
  • promote cooperation and coordination between mental health services and providers of other health, disability and community support services.

The Chief Psychiatrist is assisted by the Deputy Chief Psychiatrist, Child and Youth Mental Health and by the Deputy Chief Psychiatrist, Aged Persons Mental Health. 

The Chief Psychiatrist has released findings and recommendations from an audit of inpatient deaths in Victorian public mental health services over the three-and-a-half-year period from 2011 to mid-2014.