S65: LEAD & PANEL PRESENTATIONS: Evaluation & Feedback/Peer Workforce

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Abstract: PANEL PRESENTATION: Making it OK to complain
Maggie Toko, Jake McLaughlan

The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System identified the need for a system shaped by those who rely on it.

Victoria’s Mental Health Complaints Commissioner (MHCC) is working with public mental health services, consumers and carers, to shape a positive complaints culture.

At the 2021 conference, the MHCC presented its then upcoming Complaints Self-assessment Tool which has since been used across the public mental health sector. It provides practical ways for staff to identify strengths and weaknesses in their complaints process, as well as recommend improvements that are shaped by lived experiences.

In 2022, the MHCC launched the ‘It’s OK to Complain!’ campaign tackling stigma around making a complaint, building awareness of consumer and carer rights, and highlighting how complaints can lead to genuine service improvements.

If we are to continue delivering on the Royal Commission recommendations and build a better system, we need to reshape how complaints are perceived, and break stigma that can prevent the sharing of lived experiences.

We hope others will embrace a positive complaints culture, where complaints are not seen as attributing blame but rather providing the insight needed, alongside the expertise of staff in the sector, to build a better system for everyone.

LEAD PRESENTATION: YES – CMO (Your Experience of Service - Community Managed Organisation): from Pilot to Implementation
Corinne Henderson, Sarah Kelshaw

Your Experience of Service - Community Managed Organisations (YES-CMO) is a joint initiative between NSW Health and the MHCC. The project demonstrated commitment of all parties to work in partnership with consumers to improve services. A pilot collected feedback about consumer experiences of mental health CMO services. The survey has now progressed to full implementation.
The YES questionnaire was originally developed and tested for public mental health services. It was co-designed and named in partnership with consumers following extensive national consultation and evaluation. Released to NSW public mental health services in 2015. In 2017, a CMO version was developed to ensure suitability for CMOs. In 2018, MHCC and its partners piloted the survey with CMOs providing HASI/CLS services. A working group was established from participating CMOs, MHCC, Being, Mental Health Carers NSW and the NSW Ministry of Health (InforMH). The aim was to provide data to support quality improvement activities. The survey is anonymous, and information collected cannot be used to identify individuals. The YES-CMO provides comparative data into consumer experiences of services across the mental health service system. Through regular analysis we are able to explore to the extent to which a recovery-oriented practice approach is manifest across all service contexts and the value CMOs contribute to recovery in the community.

LEAD PRESENTATION: Consumer and carer experiences of psychology services in Australia
Christine Kaine, Sharon Lawn

Psychologists are an integral part of Australia’s mental health system, with approximately 1.26 million consumers accessing psychologist services through Medicare each year.

Throughout the pandemic, demand for psychologists’ services has skyrocketed. Governments are taking notice of the economic and human costs of this crisis and making unprecedented investment in mental health reform. Consumer voices are key to this reform if we are to genuinely highlight system issues and improve care.

Lived Experience Australia conducted a nationwide survey to provide a collective voice of consumers’ and carers’ experiences accessing psychologists.

This presentation provides an overview of the findings including:
• the top three barriers to accessing psychologist support;
• why and how consumers initially accessed a psychologist;
• why they had discontinued (if applicable);
• the impact that support from the psychologist had on their mental health and wellbeing (both positive and negative);
• what was most helpful in the support provided; and
• issues encountered navigating the psychologist support in the mental health system.

We will provide a summary of recommendations to improve the future experiences of consumers, and the people that support them, in navigating the complexities of the mental health system as it relates to psychology support services.

LEAD PRESENTATION: 'Glad You Asked': Shedding Light on the Nuances of the Consumer Peer Worker Role
Chheng Hoang, Francesca Coniglio, Karen Klarnett, Natalie Watson

Providing both personal experiential and professional perspectives into service delivery and development, the scope and nuances of the Consumer Peer Worker role are not always fully realised. In addition, people accessing Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Services are increasingly interested in Peer Worker as a career pathway. In response to the need for increasing awareness of the Consumer Peer Worker role, the Northern Sydney Local Health District Mental Health Drug and Alcohol (MHDA) Consumer Peer Workers in collaboration with the Engagement Manager, MHDA, invited consumers, families and carers, staff from our organisation, and community members to submit questions anonymously in response to “What have you always wanted to know about Consumer Peer Workers and their role but thought you could never ask?” The result is ‘Glad You Asked’ – a video exploring the nature of the roles from ten of our Consumer Peer Workers themselves, celebrating the unique skillset of Consumer Peer Workers, and uncovering aspects of the role which are not widely understood, and even stigmatised. Our presentation shares the process of creating the video, the experiences of the Consumer Peer Workers who participated, and the response to the video to date.

PANEL PRESENTATION: Will the dominance of the medical model continue to circumvent the optimisation of peer work
Daisy Gleeson, Evan Fulton, Scotty Rees

The Re-emergence of the Peer Work Force in Australia.

With a renewed sense of urgency due to Mental Health Reforms across the country – a new wave of peer workers and lived experience positions are rolling out again in government & community sectors.

This presentation aims to reconsider historical, present and future challenges of navigating this complexity.

We will talk to our experiences as Intentional Peer Support National Trainers, with the unique privilege of holding vulnerable exploratory spaces with both peer workers and managers/allies across the country.

Our observations and co-reflections from these experiences have informed the following discussion points:

Can embedding integration whilst providing an alternative approach truly happen?

Who defines Peer Work? Has Co-Optation created a new truth and perception defining Peer Work Roles?

Can our traditional obedience to protocols regarding Risk & Safety be re-invented?

Are we setting this workforce up to succeed? Or merely tolerating elements that do not disrupt long held conventions and power bases?

This talk aims to reflect and address these questions whilst holding space for potential possibilities and exploration for future and current peer workforce implementation.

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