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New body to give voice to mental health system users

4 Feb 2020

The voices of people with lived experience of mental illness will be heard at all levels of Queensland’s mental health system with the creation of a new consumer representative body.

Queensland Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Branch Executive Director Associate Professor John Allan said Queensland Health and the Queensland Mental Health Commission (QMHC) were working together to bring the new organisation to life in 2021.

“We’re committed to giving voice to the people our mental health system is here to serve,” Associate Professor Allan said.

Queensland Mental Health Commissioner Mr Ivan Frkovic said people needed to have access to appropriate services to address their physical and mental health care needs.

“That means the views of people who use those services need to be considered and respected,” he said.

The new consumer mental health peak body will provide advice and advocacy that represents the interests of those involved in the mental health system and will inform ongoing reform of mental health in Queensland.

Mr Frkovic said its broad membership base would encompass and represent people living with a mental illness.

Associate Professor Allan said the new body was a result of a Health Consumers Queensland report commissioned by Queensland Health and developed through consultations involving people with lived experience of mental illness, their carers and families.

“The QMHC has agreed to be the auspicing agency for the mental health consumer representative peak organisation and will manage all aspects in the establishment of this organisation,” Associate Professor Allan said.

He said a QMHC project team would oversee establishment of the body.

Mr Frkovic said the organisation would be established in consultation with key stakeholders through a co-design approach.

The decision to establish the consumer mental health peak body aligns with:

• the Shifting minds: Queensland Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs Strategic Plan 2018-2023
• Queensland Health’s Connecting Care to Recovery 2016–2021 plan for State-funded mental health, alcohol and other drug services, and
• the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan, which notes that “consumers and carers should be at the centre of, and enabled to take an active role in shaping, the way in which services are planned, delivered and evaluated”.

Queensland Health’s Connecting Care to Recovery plan prioritises strengthening statewide,
regional and local mechanisms for participation of individuals, families and carers in activities
that contribute to the safety and improvement of mental health, alcohol and other drug service

Follow the progress of this work here.

Queensland Health – or 07 3708 5376;
QMHC - Carolyn Varley, or 0477 385 121.