Embedding consumer leadership and advocacy as part of a rights-focused system

Embedding consumer leadership and advocacy as part of a rights-focused system

Monday, 5 August 2019

This is the third in a series of short articles drawing on our six key areas of focus from our submission to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

People whose lives are directly affected by the mental health system should shape and have influence over the re-imagined system that emerges from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

The second priority from our submission to the Royal Commission, highlights the important work of our Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) service and the value of embedding consumer leadership.

‘IMHA is an example of a service model that includes individual and systemic advocacy with consumers at the centre,’ Victoria Legal Aid Executive Director of Civil Justice, Access and Equity, Rowan McRae said.

A recent evaluation of IMHA found it is highly valued by consumers because the advocates treated them with dignity and respect and helped them to understand their rights.

 As an organisation, VLA has seen the value of consumer leadership and the depth and diversity of expertise it provides, including through our Senior Consumer Consultant and our mental health lived experience advisory group, Speaking from Experience.

‘All systems that are working with people experiencing mental health issues should commit to consumer leadership so that their services are relevant and responsive to the people using them,’ said Rowan.

 ‘More work is needed to embed consumer leadership, at all levels across government and service organisations, for it to be truly influential and realise its potential in improving services,’ said Rowan.

‘Importantly, this must extend beyond mental health services.’

We are committed to continuing to strengthen consumer leadership at Victoria Legal Aid and this must also be a priority for the Royal Commission and its recommendations for genuine reform.

More information

Read more about our submission to the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

Read the independent evaluation of the Independent Mental Health Advocacy service.

Read more at the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System website

Was this helpful?