Consumers and carers play a critical role in the delivery of mental health services in Victoria.
A consumer refers to a person with direct experience of a mental illness, and who has received, is receiving or is seeking mental health services from a mental health service provider.
A carer refers to any person including a family member and a person under 18 years of age who provides support, assistance or personal care to a person with a mental illness, or a disability resulting from a mental illness.
The Mental Health Act 2014 recognises and supports the active engagement of both consumers and carers in the assessment, treatment and recovery of people with a mental illness.
Online resources for consumers and carers
Two online resources are available for consumers and carers, showing the different perspectives.
Consumers share experiences of personal recovery, treatment and involvement with health professionals. And carers share their experiences of supporting the quality of life of the person being cared for, the impact of caring on their relationships, of caring for themselves, and of personal growth.
Recognition and support for carers
The Victorian charter supporting people in care relationships encourages care organisations and services to better respect the important role carers play in our community. The Carers Recognition Act 2012 formally recognises, promotes and values the role of carers and the importance of care relationships in the Victorian community, recognising differing needs and promoting the benefits that care relationships bring. It includes a set of principles about the significance of care relationships, and specifies obligations for state government agencies, local councils, and other organisations that interact with people in care relationships. The Victorian charter reflects and supports the Carers Recognition Act.
The Mental Health Carer Support Program comprises a range of services designed to support carers in their caring relationship:
- carer support workers located in Commonwealth Carelink Centres or Carer Respite Centres
- planned respite support for carers
- mutual support and self-help programs providing support, education and information to carers
- carer consultants
- Mental Health Carer Support Program - brokerage fund.
Mental Health Lived Experience Engagement Framework
In Victoria, consumers who use Victoria's mental health system are included in policy decision making, along with their families and carers.
By putting people with lived experience at the centre of designing and delivering mental health services, we are able to ensure that they meet the needs of the people who use them which will keep more Victorians healthy and well.
The Victorian Government is proud to use the Mental Health Lived Experience Engagement Framework.
The framework guides policy makers to engage more meaningfully with people who have experienced mental illness and/or emotional issues, and those who care for them.
All staff across the Department of Health and Human Services are committed to upholding these principles. Together, we can build a more inclusive mental health system we can all be proud of.
Consumer and carer engagement
Consumer and carer engagement plays a vital role in the treatment, care and recovery of people with a mental illness.
Supporting parents with a mental illness
Mental health professionals can support parents with a mental illness in a variety of ways.
Supporting children whose parents have a mental illness
Children whose parents have a mental illness need support and information.
Family support and crisis plans
Mental health professionals can help families to manage the impact of mental illness with a crisis plan.
Consumer and carer financial support
Information about Tandem's Carer Support Fund and the Psychiatric Illness and Intellectual Disability Donations Trust Fund
Reviewed 23 October 2023