Authors: Our Consumer Place
Event: 2012 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: VIC
Award level: Gold
Award category: Consumer Provided
Abstract: Our Consumer Place is a resource centre run entirely by people with ‘mental illness’ (“consumers”). This experience provides a crucial source of insight. We are unique in Australia. We provide information, training and support to consumer-developed groups and projects, drawing from the Australian consumer community and international best-practice. We participate in the broader mental health sector to foster consumer perspective and provide training and advice for organisations to more effectively support consumer leadership. Publications include: • “So, you have a ‘Mental Illness’ ... What now?” a groundbreaking booklet providing an introduction to mental illness from a consumer perspective. • “Speaking Our Minds” a guide to sharing our stories, purposefully and safely. • “Deep Insight: Leaders in the international mental health consumer/survivor movement share their thinking,” and • “Psychobabble: The little red book of psychiatric jargon”: a glossary that (amusingly) explains the terms used in mental health from our perspective. Description of Facility/Organisation: Our Consumer Place is funded by the Victorian Department of Health with a budget of $250,000 per annum. We are auspiced by Our Community. Our focus is Victoria, but there is great demand nationally for our resources and training. We endeavour to make our materials as accessible as possible, with most resources available free through our website. Our materials are also accessed internationally, especially by consumers and mental health organisations in New Zealand. We are supported by the infrastructure of Our Community, an innovative social enterprise that provides advice and tools for community groups in Australia. Two consumer leaders are employed (EFT 1.4), but we draw extensively on an informal network of dozens of consumer leaders and the support infrastructure of Our Community. Our formal membership includes nearly 1000 people, although this represents only a fraction of people accessing our resources. For example, there are 1500 hits to our website every day, several thousand people have attended our training, and our newsletters are distributed in countless psychiatric facilities and services.