As CEO of Tandem, I am privileged to lead a team dedicated to advocating for, supporting, and representing the views of informal mental health carers. Tandem acknowledges the emotional turmoil experienced by these carers in a time where ongoing changes to the delivery of mental health supports, and the roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme heighten uncertainty. Tandem believes we must strengthen our partnership work so we can support each other to provide the high standard of compassionate, family inclusive care consumers and their informal carers in Victoria deserve.
In the March 2017 research report The Economic Value of Informal Mental Health Caring in Australia, we learnt that the 60,000 informal mental health carers in Victoria provide an average of 36 hours of care per week. Emotional support (encouragement, supervising and monitoring, and responding to behaviour and managing crisis) makes up 67% of that time. Fifteen percent of these carers are aged below 25 years of age, and 25% of care recipients are between 1 and 24 years of age. Researchers calculate the cost of replacing the supports provided by informal mental health carers is $3.3 billion p.a. in Victoria.
Tandem intends to address some of the key issues highlighted by this research in a stimulating conference program. Thought-provoking presentations, panel discussions and interactive workshops will inspire, inform and support relationships for better mental health and wellbeing outcomes for all.
Margaret Wheatley—writer, speaker, teacher and President of The Berkana Institute (cited in Youngson 2012)—describes a need for a new type of leader. Someone to nourish the conversations, to connect together the pioneers, to foster communities of practice and to promote the spread of good ideas. The leader is the host not the hero. Tandem would like to be your host, and I invite you to participate in a conference designed to provide an open invitation to engage in a different kind of conversation.
I encourage you to consider the benefits of supporting the Tandem Conference and Awards Dinner, and thank you in anticipation.