Authors: Gaynor Ellis & Ross O’Donovan, QLD
Event: 2005 TheMHS Conference
Subject: remote and regional service, Consumer Participation, CAG consumer advisory group
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: This paper describes the struggles and achievements of two very small organizations as they worked together to establish consumer participation and inclusion in a geographically remote city, with few resources. The Cairns Consumer Advisory Group and the Mental Health Resource Service (an NGO) set out to establish “community” – melding and developing relationships, linkages and programs, with minimum or no funding, and no facilities or “consumer space”. We started with little more than a great deal of commitment, hope, patience, and belief that things could change. We bought others into the process along the way – creating allies and support. Less than 3 years later, little has changed regarding resources and funding, but there is a noticeable increase in consumer participation, including peer support & self-help, community education, the arts, consumer advisory roles and staff training. Partnerships, existing community resources, trust, and the willingness to take risks, are basic to the approach we undertook.