Department of Health

Working with consumers and carers

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.

Visit online resources

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.

Read our Lived Experience Engagement Framework.

Reviewed 23 October 2023


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