MHA is the peak, national non-government organisation representing and promoting the interests of the Australian mental health sector, committed to achieving better mental health for all Australians.
MHA members include national organisations representing consumers, carers, special needs groups, clinical service providers, public and private mental health service providers, researchers, and state/territory mental health peak bodies.
This survey reveals the 15 key issues which affect mental health carers and provides a national report card on how Australia is managing these issues.
Unfortunately, this survey also highlights the gulf which continues to exist between policy and practice. While there is now a plethora of government reports, policies and strategies which aim to address the needs of carers, the results of this first national survey show that these policies are yet to impact positively on the experience of care felt by the mental health carers who participated in the survey.
Adversity to Advocacy continues the saga initiated by the 1999 National Inquiry into the Human Rights of People with Mental Illness (The Burdekin Report) continued by the Not for Service Report 2005 and the report of the Senate inquiry in Mental Health of 2006, From Crisis to Community. It extends the same national listening ear specifically to Mental Health Carers to enable them to speak openly about their lives and, very sadly, reveals that the stories told were very much the same as in these earlier reports. Little has changed in carers’ access to services when things start to deteriorate, their anguish at being excluded from information to help them to provide better care, and in many cases their desolation at the thought:
“What will happen to the person I care for when I am gone?”
For the many carers who participated in the workshops that produced this survey, there was the sense that nothing had changed or will change, and the sad stories will continue to stay the same. Yet, many also reported ‘hope’ as the best thing to come out of the workshop experience and the hope is that this survey can be a platform of action for change. Responding to its findings is a responsibility shared by funders and decision-makers. Ignoring it is not an option
Mental Health Australia has opened a national tender requesting Expressions of Interest to design and deliver peer-developed and facilitated workshops that will help mental health consumers and carers to engage with the NDIS.
The successful consultant will develop and deliver a NDIS mental health peer education module in each state/territory, tailored to local conditions and designed to:
The successful consultant will also establish mechanisms to enable effective re-delivery of the education module beyond the life of this project, for example through a train-the-trainer component delivered to peer workers, or through drawing on the skills of existing peer facilitators.
These workshops are a core component of Mental Health Australia’s Mental Health Consumer and Carer Capacity Building Plan, which has been developed with the advice of the NDIS Mental Health Consumer and Carer Advisory Group through Mental Health Australia’s NDIS Capacity Building Project. This Project is funded through the Australian Government Sector Development Fund to build the capacity of mental health consumers, carers and service providers to engage with the NDIS.