Consumer and Family Carer Workforce Development
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.
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
In 2021, the RCVMHS released its final report highlighting the substantial need for system reform. Central to the success of the reforms is system change led by lived experience (LE). As a result of the Royal Commission, we saw many projects emerge to respond to this need. One of the key priorities, as enshrined in the National Lived Experience (Peer) Workforce Strategy, is the realisation of an authorised, supported and sustainable LE workforce (LEW). The CMHL LEW team are committed to supporting and working with Victoria’s lived experience workforce to achieve this goal.
As a response to the growing need for LE workforce coordination, consultation and project work, CMHL expanded its LE workforce.
During the 2021-2022 financial year, the CMHL LE team have been focused on a number of areas of work including the following: workforce coordination, sector relationships, project work, workforce training, consultations, forums and internal lived experience workforce processes.
The lived experience workforce is expanding rapidly and requires responsive and robust support. We have delivered the following: Consumer Workforce Reflective Circles, Courageous Conversations, support of the Carer Lived Experience Workforce (CLEW) group, the Victorian Mental Health Interprofessional Leadership Network, responded to individual requests for support, information and linkage with other services, support of the Carer Lived Experience Workforce group.
We build collaborative relationships with our partner organisations and other stakeholders including: VMIAC, Tandem, Centre for Mental Health Nursing, Mental Health Victoria, SHARC, Harm Reduction Victoria, CLEW, Area Mental Health Services. CMHL also has established the Live Learn Lead Collective (LLLC) to bring LEW perspectives to CMHL work and priorities. We also use an online platform (Basecamp) to support networking, resource sharing and support of communities of practice
We work collaboratively with our various organisations across the mental health sector to both lead and partner on projects including the: Our Future Project, Organisational Readiness Co-design Action Team, Placement Support Co-design Action Team, Rising Together, Family/Carer Research Network.
We collaboratively develop trainings including: Co-design training, Caring With training, Consumer Consultant training, Leadership training (VMHILN), and delivered the DH funded CLEW forum in March.
We contribute LE workforce perspectives as members of the Lived Experience Advisory Group, Lived Experience Workforce Advisory Group committees and provided a lived experience workforce voice to multiple DH project consultations including: review of the Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work, development of a State Wide Trauma Service, Lived and Living Experience Workforce Tertiary Scholarship Project, Capability Framework, Collaborative Centre.
Internal LE processes
We develop a range of internal LE support structures including: LEW Operations, LEW Coordinator’s meeting, LEW LPD meeting and the LEW co-reflection space.
We continue to develop our internal process to support CMHL’s LE workforce including working with the Learning and Practice Development team at CMHL to increase LE involvement in the development and delivery of sector wide training and LEW specific training.
Future LLEW at CMHL
CMHL is excited to be participating in the DH funded LLEWs development program 2022-24 to realise authorised, supported and sustainable LLEWs in public mental health and AOD services.
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.
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.
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 (CLEW)
- Centre for Mental Health Learning (CMHL)
- Centre for Mental Health Nursing, Melbourne University (CentreMHN)
- Department of Health (DH)
- Mental Health Victoria (MHVic)
- Self Help Addiction Resource Centre (SHARC)
- Victorian Dual Diagnosis Initiative Leadership Group (VDDILG)
- Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC)
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.