S52: Lived experience voices of family & friends: What a safe holistic system supporting wellbeing could look like.

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By September 12, 2019 No Comments

Authors: Marie Piu, Melissa Petrakis

Year: 2019

Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Lived experience voices of family & friends: What a safe holistic system supporting wellbeing could look like.

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers



Marie Piu MAPS, Chief Executive Officer Tandem
Marie has been supporting her migrant mother with serious mental illness since she was a young child. She is a registered psychologist and a member of the Australian Psychological Society. She believes her postgraduate studies in Applied Psychology provided her with the theoretical underpinning for her future focus on systemic advocacy. She is passionate about advocating for a compassionate health system supporting relational recovery for service users with mental health issues alongside their family, friends and service providers. Marie has held senior roles, in Community and Mental Health, Trade Union and Policing, with a focus on working with marginalized communities.

Dr Melissa Petrakis is a Senior Lecturer at Monash University, Department of Social Work. She has worked in mental health services for over 20 years, as a clinician then practice-based researcher. She has authored over 50 publications; delivered over 80 national/international conference presentations. She is Chief Investigator of a longitudinal study into evidence-based early psychosis treatment, St Vincent's Hospital (Melbourne). In 2016 she was awarded The Tom Trauer Evaluation and Research Award, Australian and New Zealand TheMHS Awards, acknowledging excellence in her approach to research, championing co-design, co-production and co-authorship, with clinicians and people with lived experience of mental illness.

The current Victorian State Government, as an election pledge, promised to establish a Royal Commission into Mental Health. As the trusted voice of mental health carers, state peak body Tandem was invited to sit on a ministerial roundtable into the Terms of Reference and to prepare a submission of family and carer perspectives. To represent potential diversity in carer views, a consultation with members was held. Open-ended questions were utilised to facilitate discussion regarding: What does a mental health system that safely and holistically supports mental health and wellbeing for consumers and their family/friends/carers look like? What does better support for family/friends/carers mean to you? The findings were rich and we look forward to bringing the diversity of voices to the vibrant conference theme of 'Building Health Communities - Stories of Hope and Resilience'. Initial analysis has focused on 5 broad themes that emerged: need for adequate resourcing impacting on service offerings; importance of the physical environment; staff training and retention; governance of services; and broadening and integrating models of care. Tandem will bring to the fore voices of families who have shared in advocacy during 2018-2019, working to design a safe, funded, inclusive and fair mental health system.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: From attending this presentation people in the audience will learn what carers have stated they believe would make a safe, holistic supportive mental health system supporting health and wellbeing for consumers and family/carers.
Learning Objective 2: This topic/issue is relevant to mental health services and issues because – in a recovery-oriented paradigm – the stories of hope and vision from both consumer and carer lived experience perspectives, for the future direction of services and the system, are and should be paramount.

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