The Department of Health (DH) provided funding in 2020 to increase the availability of consumer and family/carer perspective supervision to the lived experience workforces, coinciding with the CMHL’s completion of a Consumer and Family/ Carer Perspective Supervision Database.
There have been multiple organisations and individuals working over the last few years to improve the lived experience workforces’ access to discipline specific supervision, by developing frameworks, creating resources and delivering training.
The separate strategies for the Consumer and the Family/Carer Mental Health Workforces in Victoria, launched in 2019, both include objectives for each workforce to have access to discipline specific supervision (objectives 3.1 and 3.4 respectively).
Access to Supervision
The Access to Supervision project was funded by DH to pay supervisors to provide discipline specific supervision to the consumer mental health workforce and the family/carer mental health workforce. The CMHL was funded to appoint a lived experience project position to coordinate the project with partners VMIAC, Tandem, and Mental Health Victoria. This group determined and managed the processes for promoting the project, approving supervisees and supervisors, and organising payments.
The Access to Supervision project commenced in late 2020 after promotion across multiple platforms. Fortuitously, at the same time DH funded consumer perspective supervision training was nearing completion for one cohort, enhancing the potential pool of supervisors. Project processes involved CMHL determining eligibility and approving sessions, eligible supervisors and supervisees connecting through the online database, and VMIAC and Tandem managing payment.
By June 2021, twelve consumer supervisors and four family/carer supervisors were approved to provide supervision within the Access to Supervision project.
LEW Supervision Database
The CMHL had also developed a Consumer and Family/Carer Perspective Supervision Database, based on significant foundational work done by the Consumer Perspective Supervision Framework project team. The database was ready to be launched in late 2020, allowing it to be utilised as a core platform for the Access to Supervision project.
Feedback and Next Steps
We have heard a strongly expressed need and desire for consistent and ongoing discipline specific access to supervision for the lived experience workforces. There is often confusion regarding the difference between line management supervision and discipline specific supervision. DH funding of this statewide project allowed for improved access, as well as a central communication point where supervisees and supervisors were both supported to adhere to the principles and practice of discipline specific supervision.
The working group with DH are exploring options for support or supervision of participating supervisors. The project is currently being expanded to the community mental health sector, led by the same working group. An evaluation is being completed by VMIAC, but early findings suggest funding lived experience discipline specific supervision has increased its accessibility and allowed many members of these workforces to receive supervision for the first time. If funding continues the working group will need to consider long term processes.