Authors: Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC)
Event: 2011 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: VIC
Award level: Winner
Award category: Consumer Provided Services
Abstract: The Consumer Research and Evaluation Unit (CREU) represents a unique consumer created and led research team. The CREU has a team of skilled personnel with experience in research and evaluation techniques with their greatest strength being derived from their lived experience. The CREU advocates for consumer research as an emerging field where research is initiated, designed, controlled, and conducted by consumers whereby new methodologies and approaches are developed from a consumer perspective. Rights based, grass roots consumer philosophy underlies CREU activities and seeks to add a different and complementary approach to research in the mental health sector. The CREU was established in 2006 with the commencement of a collaborative project – MH ECO (Mental Health Experience Co-design). MH ECO has become a national flagship initiative in mental health service quality improvement (http://mheco.org.au). The CREU has undertaken a number of state-wide projects which have contributed to the Victorian mental health system reform. Description of Facility/Organisation: The Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC) was formed in 1981 to serve as Victoria’s peak non-government organisation for people who have had experience or are currently experiencing mental health problems or emotional distress. VMIAC receives recurrent funding from both the State and Commonwealth governments. VMIAC also receives some philanthropic funds and donations for specific mental health consumer oriented projects. VMIAC currently employs 10 staff members who assist consumers statewide in a variety of ways, including: information provision, advice, peer support and self- help, individual, group and systemic advocacy, research and evaluation, and education and training for sections of the consumer workforce. VMIAC is an incorporated association with a significant membership base of consumers and consumer groups from across Victoria. The organisation is regularly consulted by Government departments and seeks to inform and influence these entities on mental health consumer issues.