S64: Mental Health Supports: The Victorian Picture

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By September 12, 2019 No Comments

Authors: Tania Curlis, Jenny Bretnall, Neil Turton-Lane

Year: 2019

Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Mental Health Supports: The Victorian Picture

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers



Tania Curlis has experience in human services governance, research and program design, with an interest in family centred practice and peer-led approaches. Her social work background and personal experience of family mental health issues lends a practical approach to her work with carers and consumers, and her research interests. Tania’s work as the NDIS Engagement Consultant for Tandem, the Victorian peak organisation representing mental health family and friends (carers) follows 10 years in direct practice, project work and workforce development across health and community services.

Jenny Bretnall has over 25 years’ experience as a project manager, practitioner and educator in the social welfare field. Having worked as VMIAC’s NDIS educator; training and producing resources for people with a lived experience of mental health issues, Jenny currently works at IMHA developing peer facilitated NDIS self-advocacy training.

In recent years, the Victorian mental health system has faced the introduction of marketised approaches to service provision under the NDIS, a reduction in community mental health funding, and a reduction in direct support to a consumer's family or family of choice (carers). Changes have brought barriers, but also, renewed opportunity for collaboration between lived experience organisations.

This paper shares insights from combined efforts of Tandem and VMIAC in NDIS engagement with the mental health community across Victoria, including examples of creative approaches to improve outcomes for consumers within the scheme. Presenters will then share the work of IMHA in developing self-advocacy resources, including insights from the collaboration with VMIAC and Tandem to produce co-designed self-advocacy workshops.

Inter-organisational responses to emerging needs from sector change convey hope and solidarity. Presenters will share highlights from emerging lived experience work, which demonstrate united commitment to mental health advocacy.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: The audience will take away a sense of what is possible through collaborative practice and placing lived experience at the centre of service design, and will hopefully feel energised that these approaches do not necessarily take more effort to put in place.
Learning Objective 2: This paper provides an example to mental health leadership that a united consumer and family approach may lead to fresh insights and approaches, validating the experiences of each group. Utilising existing relationships and networks can improve the capacity of organisations to meet the needs of those they represent and support.

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