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The consumer and carer movement

The consumer and carer movement

The participation of people with a mental illness is recognised as crucial to successful recovery oriented services and programs.

Organisations delivering mental health services are required to be accredited against the National Standards for Mental Health Services. Standard 3 is ‘Consumer and Carer Participation: Consumers and carers are actively involved in the development, planning, delivery and evaluation of services’. Participation is also a key feature of recovery-oriented practice as outlined in the National Framework for Recovery-Oriented Mental Health Services.

The very first consumer organisation in Australia, the Campaign Against Psychiatric Injustice and Coercion (CAPIC), was formed during the 1970s and contributed to the movement for mental health reform that continues today.

Prior to this movement, people who accessed mental health hospital services were often referred to as mental patients, psychiatric patients, or patients. The term 'consumer' has gained momentum and is now used more broadly throughout hospital services in Australia, not solely in the mental health sector: i.e., consumer not 'patient' is the preferred term for any person who engages with a hospital service.

Some examples of types of consumer and peer participation identified within the North Brisbane and Moreton Bay region include but is not limited to the following:

  • Active involvement in being a part of the decision making process about their own recovery processes
  • Employed or volunteering as a peer support worker
  • Attending and/or facilitating peer support groups
  • Consumer/carer advisory groups/committees
  • Peer Practitioner/Consultant
  • Peer Educator
  • Focus group participation
  • Management Committee/Board Member
  • Consumer/Carer companions in hospitals
From Mental Hygiene to Community Mental Health

This paper offers an overview of public policy in Victoria as it changed its approach to the treatment and prevention of mental illness from the late 1940s to the 1990s.

Consumer and carer engagement—a practical guide

The National Mental Health Commission has produced a practical guide to create a clear framework and set of principles for best practice in consumer and carer engagement and participation.

    My Mental Health

    We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia, their diversity, histories and knowledge and their continuing connections to land, waterways and culture. We pay our respect to all Australian Indigenous Peoples and their cultures, and to Elders of past, present and future generations.

    Brisbane North PHN wishes to acknowledge the experience and expertise of the My Mental Health Steering Committee, delegates of the Peer Participation in Mental Health Services (PPIMS) network and health professionals in developing the My Mental Health Website.

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