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The Lived Experience Workforces Organisational Readiness (OR) and Placement Support (PS) projects, commissioned by Mental Health Reform Victoria (MHRV), respond to the recommendation in the Interim Report (2019) of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System (RCVMHS) to grow and better support the lived experience workforces. These projects are nearing their September 2021 completion date.

Organisational Readiness

For the Organisational Readiness (OR) project, an organisation readiness program, with a framework and tools, is being developed to create the necessary organisational conditions in mental health services for the sustainable employment, career development, and purposeful use of the unique capabilities of lived experience workers.

Placement Support

For the Placement Support (PS) project, the CMHL is identifying and proposing statewide models of student supervision to support the placement needs of people enrolled in the Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work, with particular regard to the placement of the Cert IV on the TAFE free list and the resulting increased volume of placements that will be needed.

Co-design Action Teams

To ensure that lived experience is central to how lived experience workforce roles and supports are designed and implemented, CMHL undertook a lived experience-led, co-design approach to working together by developing co-design action teams (CDATs).

CDAT membership includes:

  • lived experience, clinical, allied health, and human resources workforce members, from both clinical and community settings
  • Department of Health staff
  • Registered Training Organisation (RTO) staff
  • students of the Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work;
  • a provocateur in each CDAT (in line with TACSI’s training).

By mid-2021 almost 20 CDAT sessions had been held across the two projects. These include four initial co-design training sessions delivered by Indigo Daya to introduce participants to the fundamentals of co-design. We developed and provided training for our two provocateur members. We have had a total number of 40 participants in our co-design action teams.

Additional consultations and surveys were undertaken to address knowledge or consultation gaps as they were identified.

A novel feature of these projects is that they are both lived experience-led and co-designed and, as a team, we have learnt to cultivate projects that address power imbalances by hearing, valuing, and amplifying diverse and often marginalised voices. We have strived to create online sessions where CDAT members can be safe and brave in expressing their perspectives. The CDAT members’ enthusiasm and eagerness are reflected in the innovative solutions to these complex issues.

We have delivered the outcomes of the projects to the Department of Health (DH). The deliverables from the OR project include an organisational readiness framework and associated assessment tools. The PS project deliverable is a model options paper for the DH describing ways to support and facilitate Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work student placements in services.

We are conducting project evaluations to inform CMHL’s future practices in co-design. The evaluations will be led by external lived experience workforce members.

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