S35A: LEAD & PANEL PRESENTATIONS: Mental Health Reform

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By December 2, 2022 No Comments

Authors: Michelle Swann, Sudeep Saraf, Craig Wallace, Marie Piu, Keir Saltmarsh, Janice (Jaz) Chisholm, Melissa Petrakis, Randolfo Obregon, Sharon Williams, Jennifer Bite, Kate Day

Year: 2022

Event: 2022 TheMHS Conference

Subject: reform, system, services

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: LEAD PRESENTATION: Transforming Victoria’s mental health system: Lived experience and clinicians in partnership
Michelle Swann, Sudeep Saraf, Craig Wallace, Marie Piu, Keir Saltmarsh

The Royal Commission into Victoria’ Mental Health System (the Commission) has outlined transformational reform of the service system with one of its guiding principles being:
People with lived experience of mental illness or psychological distress, family members, carers and supporters, as well as local communities, are central to the planning and delivery of mental health treatment, care and support services

This guiding principle signals to the clinical mental health sector the importance of forming authentic and strategic partnerships with people who have lived experience. This involves a willingness to compromise and share power – ‘doing with rather than doing to’. Clinicians, consumers and carers need to find ways of working together to realise the vision of the Royal Commission.

They need to work closely together, in a purposeful way, even if they don’t agree with each other about many things.

The CEO of the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council together with the Chief Clinical Adviser and Principal Adviser, Lived Experience (Carer) from Victoria’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Division will share their experiences of effectively partnering to bring about transformational reform.

LEAD PRESENTATION: Implementing recovery-oriented practice in clinical mental health: Findings from peer workers and clinicians
Janice (Jaz) Chisholm, Melissa Petrakis

Objective: In the context of the final report from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health Systems 2021, this research explores one service’s experience from both peer workers’ and clinicians’ perspectives about implementation of recovery-oriented practice (ROP).
Methods: A focus group with peer workers was conducted and data were analysed thematically. A purpose-built, targeted Qualtrics survey was undertaken with clinicians.
Results: Six service user and 2 carer peer workers, and 256 clinicians participated. Peer workers suggested recovery language, peer workers as leaders, changes in clinical staff attitudes to value personal recovery were important, and organisational changes are required in the implementation of ROP. Organisational structure and systemic barriers seemed to prevent ease of implementation. Clinicians’ perspectives revealled a strong recovery-orientation with a high level of favour for a less biomedical model. Clinicians mostly believed peer workers add value to recovery work. There was some discrepancy about locating peer workers in clinical teams, and consumers’ knowledge of best treatments for their recovery. Conclusions: The views of peer workers are valuable in the implementation of ROP. Peer workers add lived experience and can contribute to clinician uptake and ROP practice. Clinicians are well positioned to adopt more recovery-focussed practice in the future.

PANEL PRESENTATION: Lived experience perspectives central to mental health workforce reform in response to Victoria's Royal-Commission recommendations
Randolfo Obregon, Sharon Williams, Jennifer Bite

The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System called for people with lived experience to be central to reform planning and delivery.

This includes the many programs to expand and better support Victoria’s mental health and wellbeing workforce.

Since 2021 the Department of Health has partnered with peak body the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC), employing a Workforce Reform Consumer Lead and peak body Tandem to employing a Workforce Reform Family-Carer Lead

VMIAC is the peak Victorian organisation for people with a lived experience of mental health problems or emotional distress. Tandem is the Victorian peak body representing family and friends supporting people living with mental health challenges.

The VMIAC role aims to strengthen consumer lived and living experience perspectives and the Tandem role aims to strengthen family-carer lived and living experience perspectives on workforce policy and reform recommended by the Royal Commission.

The roles work together and alongside the Department of Health to provide advice and expertise to guide and contribute to a range of whole of mental health workforce reforms, including lived experience workforce initiatives.

The roles are supported by a network of Victorian consumer and family-carer representatives through participation registers at VMIAC and Tandem.

The VMIAC and Tandem workforce reform lived experience leads are currently supporting the Mental Health and Wellbeing Division with projects associated with the implementation of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Workforce Strategy, including:

- Design of specifications and assessment of applications for a number of scholarships, graduate, and transition programs
- Contribute to the development of the Workforce Strategy, Capability Framework and outcme statements and workforce planning
- Lived Experience workforce leadership, training and professional development.

The Royal Commission highlighted the value and expertise of lived experience workforces. It recommended a series of reforms to expand the consumer and family carer lived experience workforces across all levels of the system.

PANEL PRESENTATION: Mental Health Workforce Reform - Opportunities for allied health disciplines
Kate Day

The Royal Commission into Victoria's Mental Health System handed down its final report in March 2021. This report called for substantial reform to the mental health system and identified that the mental health and wellbeing workforce must be at the heart of this reform.
This workforce needs to be diverse and multidisciplinary and must offer consumers, families, carers and supporters a range of interventions that suit their needs and preferences.
Occupational therapists, social workers and psychologists play an important role in delivering Victoria's mental health services, however, these disciplines have not been afforded the opportunity to work to the full scope of their practice.
Additionally, opportunities for other allied health clinicians, such as speech pathologists, clinical pharmacists and art therapists, to build their skills in a mental health context have been extremely limited.
The Workforce Growth Team has a range of initiatives currently underway to address these issues. This includes the following measures for allied health clinicians: substantially increasing the number of early career positions; expanding career options within the sector; developing a sector wide shared understanding of best practice in clinical education; and expanding opportunities for a wider range of allied health disciplines.

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