Consumer and Family Carer Workforce Development

Our vision

The Victorian consumer and family carer lived experience (peer) workforces are valued, resourced and supported in their work.

What do we do?

The Consumer Workforce Development Coordinators and the Family Carer Workforce Development Coordinators are key team members of the CMHL. We work closely with consumer and family carer workers, the Department of Health (DH), training organisations, health services, and peak bodies to support the development of the mental health consumer and family carer workforces in Victoria.




Identifying the support and development needs of the consumer and family carer workforces and their organisations.

  • The Consumer Workforce strategy (pdf, word) launched July 2019
  • The Family Carer Workforce strategy (pdf, word) launched July 2019



Identifying training and activities to address identified workforce needs.
Find these in the CMHL Learning Hub.



Identifying resources to support the consumer and carer workforce and their organisations.
Find these in the CMHL Resource Hub.



Networks and communities of practice in relation to lived experience work


Our approach

Our work is informed by the following frameworks:

  • Human rights and rights-based practice
  • Co-production and co-design
  • Trauma informed
  • Intentional Peer Support
  • Recovery oriented practice

Current priorities and work


Workforce Development Strategies

Mental Health Consumer Workforce Strategy

A Consumer Workforce Development Strategy has been created with leadership from the Consumer Workforce Development Group. This group has worked in partnership with DHHS to provide direction and advice for policy and initiatives that relate to the consumer workforce. Members of the Consumer Workforce Development Group were all consumer workers experienced across a range of roles, except for those who were department members.

Consumer Workforce Strategy (pdf, word) launched 1 July 2019

Workforce Development Themes

Mental Health Family Carer Workforce Strategy

In collaboration with family carer workforce, the Carer Workforce Development Group have developed a vision for the family carer workforce. Practical steps to make the vision a reality have been mapped out and are contained within this Strategy.

Members of the Carer Workforce Development Group were family carer workers experienced across a range of roles, and two DHHS members.

Family Carer Workforce Strategy (pdf, word) launched 1 July 2019 

The Strategies are live action plans with stewardship held by key workforce partners (listed in alphabetical order):

  • The Bouverie Centre, La Trobe University 
  • Carer Lived Experience Workforce Network 
  • Centre for Mental Health Learning 
  • Centre for Psychiatric Nursing, Melbourne University 
  • Department of Health and Human Services 
  • Mental Health Victoria 
  • Self Help Addiction Resource Centre
  • Tandem 
  • Victorian Dual Diagnosis Initiative Leadership Group 
  • Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council


Organisation readiness

Research shows that a fundamental element for successful establishment of lived experience roles is organisation commitment and action to create an environment where lived experience roles are fully understood, genuinely valued and authorised to operate in line with consumer and family carer values.  

A range of activities including review of: recruitment processes, role descriptions and policies. Discipline specific supervision and training are also required to ensure that the organisation is ready to employ to any consumer and family carer role. This includes training for management and other disciplines which can uncover some of the complexities unique to working as a person with lived experience within the mental health sector. These activities must be done with leadership from those suitably experienced in consumer or family carer work.

CMHL consumer and family carer leadership and collaboration

We are currently undertaking consultation to design, develop and implement consumer and family carer leadership process and structures to inform the work of the CMHL and the development and support of the lived experience workforces.

Get involved!

Keep informed about opportunities to get involved by signing up for the CMHL newsletter or contact us to join our online Networks and Communities of Practice.

About us



Catherine Van Remmen

Consumer Workforce Development Coordinator



David Barclay       

Consumer Workforce      Development Coordinator



Jacqui Hill

Family Carer Workforce Development Coordinator


Photo of Lorna Downes

Lorna Downes

Family Carer Workforce Development Coordinator


Contact us

Please contact us to join an online community of practice (Basecamp) or with questions, feedback or suggestions