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Consumer and Carer Engagement

Safety and Quality Engagement Guide

Under the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, the NMHC has been tasked with developing a guide for mental health consumers and carers, to strengthen their role in safety and quality initiatives within mental health services.

The Safety and Quality Engagement Guide will focus on supporting mental health consumers and carers to engage effectively on safety and quality issues at a governance level. This includes engagement activities that focus on planning and decision-making, influencing policy directions and achieving systemic outcomes.

This strategic focus was selected on the basis that it would avoid duplication of existing guides for consumers and carers; create potential for longer term structural and cultural change, as well as influencing service-level improvements; and provide flexibility for adaptation across sectors.

The NMHC has established an Advisory Committee to oversee the project. The Committee includes consumer, carer and service provider representatives from across Australia.

Consultations to inform the Safety and Quality Engagement Guide will be conducted in the second half of 2019. A draft of the Guide will be made publicly available for feedback next year.

The Safety and Quality Engagement Guide is due to be completed by the end of 2020.

Consumer and Carer Engagement: a Practical Guide

The NMHC’s Engage and Participate in Mental Health project highlighted the need to move away from a culture of ‘doing to’ to one of ‘working with’ consumers and carers. Effective engagement requires skills, capabilities and cultures that recognise and support equal partnerships and the value of lived experience perspectives. While change is occurring, engagement and participation is still a new area for many consumers, carers and people working in mental health organisations.

This guide attempts to capture the core values and principles around engagement and participation and present these in the form of a practical, good practice guide for use by mental health consumers and carers and by people working within the mental health system at all levels.

It provides a clear framework and set of principles for best practice in consumer and carer engagement and participation as well as step-by-step, practical advice on how these principles and values can be put to action.

The NMHC would like to acknowledge and thank Dr Michelle Banfield for her assistance in the production of this guide. We would also like to acknowledge and thank all of those who have contributed to the development of this guide through sharing of their experiences as part of the Engage and Participate in Mental Health Project and to those organisations who agreed to have examples of their engagement and participation practices included throughout the guide.

Consumer and carer engagement: a practical guide  

Effective and safe engagement and participation

Following on from the Engage and Participate in Mental Health report, the NMHC commissioned a report to examine ways to support people with lived experience to effectively and safely participate with services, organisations and systems. This work included engaging with key leaders to understand how to support people with lived experience to fulfil appointed or assigned roles, regardless of whether they are a CEO, a peer worker, a committee member or a board member. 

This report, Sit Beside Me, Not Above Me, describes essential ingredients and considerations for effective and safe engagement and participation, and demonstrates positive changes. It also confirms that more still needs to be done. It highlights that supporting better, safer and more effective engagement and participation with people with lived experience, their families and other support people requires shared or mutual development for all people engaged in mental health and suicide prevention, and not just people with lived experience.

Read the full report here: Sit beside me, not above me

Engage and Participate in Mental Health Report

Engage and Participate in Mental Health – Thank You

The National Mental Health Commission believes it is essential that people with lived experience of mental ill-health, families and support people are included and involved in decisions that impact them to lead a contributing life.

To inform, support and enhance opportunities for engagement and participation, the Commission formed the Lived Experience Steering Group to co-design with Craze Lateral Solutions the Engage and Participate in Mental Health Project.

A project website and an accompanying social media campaign publicised the project and informed people about opportunities to contribute. This included online surveys, stakeholder interviews, community conversations, yarning circles, and web-consultations.

This Engage and Participate in Mental Health summary report describes the range and extent of engagement and participation across the mental health sector in Australia.

This resource database is a searchable tool which brings together frameworks, strategies and policies focused on mental health engagement and participation in Australia.

Information about the project 

The Lived Experience Steering Group for the  Engage and Participate in Mental Health Project was chaired by Commissioner Jackie Crowe.

Over 1,000 consumers, carers, families, support people and other stakeholders shared their knowledge and experience through our consultation.

This wordcloud shows the Steering Group's view of consumer and carer participation and engagement and what it means to us.

Consumer And Carer Participation And Engagement


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