Thursday 19 May Day one - Concurrent sessions 3.25-4.25 pm


Presentation one

Aboriginal and mainstream services in partnership: culture, pathways and collaboration through a consumers narrative.  

Aboriginal Victorians experience higher rates of homelessness and mental illness than other Victorians. Historically, Aboriginal people have experienced significant difficulty in navigating the Australian health care system due to a number of barriers. Whilst mainstream mental health and homelessness organisations aspire to provide effective services to address these barriers, it is evident that there is a need for more effective collaboration.


The Wadamba Wilam program is an example of a collaborative approach that has been targeting homelessness and mental illness in a proactive and positive way. It has evolved as one part of an emerging dialogue between four organisations (Victorian Aboriginal Health Service, Neami National, UnitingCare ReGen and the Northern Area Mental Health Service) in Melbourne’s north.


These services are working together to effect systemic change, innovative program design, and transformation on how we work together to influence and determine the direction of effective services for Aboriginal people. This in turn optimises thinking, practice, and service delivery within the region.


In this symposium we will share our partnership approach and the key learnings and outcomes from the collaboration thus far. We will also point to some of the major discrepancies in the mental health system and the challenges organisations face in the provision of services for Aboriginal people. A major point of discussion is the need for mainstream services to understand Aboriginal community’s perception of those programs and services.


The highlight of this presentation will be the sharing of a personal consumer narrative to demonstrate how important collaboration is across services to meet the needs of Aboriginal people.


Wendy Slinger – Neami National


Maurice Shipp

Maurice Shipp is a descendant of the Wiradjuri people of Western New South Wales. He has worked in the Aboriginal Health sector for over 20 years and is currently employed at the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service as acting Manager Family Counselling Service. Maurice brings vast experience in program management, research and service delivery and is passionate about bringing organisations together to meet the health and wellbeing demand for Aboriginal people.


Sabin Fernbacher

Sabin Fernbacherworks at the Northern Area Mental Health Service in service development across Aboriginal and women’s mental health and Families where a Parent has a Mental Illness. She is passionate about working on systems and in collaboration to increase access and culturally safe support for Aboriginal people to mainstream mental health care.  She strives to do this in partnership with Aboriginal organizations and people.


Adam Burns

Adam Burns works for Northern Area Mental Health Service in the Wadamba Wilam program as a senior psychiatric nurse. He has worked for 7 years predominantly in an assertive outreach capacity and is passionate about improving the Social and Emotional Wellbeing of Aboriginal people. 






Presentation one

Towards recovery- a dual diagnosis approach to intake and assessment.

In late 2014 community managed mental health and alcohol and other drug treatment services underwent significant reform in Victoria. Within this current service model, clients with a co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorder (dual diagnosis) are required to undergo intake assessments for each treatment type, completing two separate assessments; one for alcohol and other drug and one for mental health.


ACSO have been placed in a unique position to provide intake and assessment for both community mental health and state funded alcohol and other drug treatment services in regional Victoria, and we aim to facilitate timely assessments of support needs, and provide a “No Wrong Door” pathway to recovery oriented supports and treatment. The centralised intake service operates independently of treatment agencies, assisting clients to navigate the service system, facilitating access to optimal supports, and assisting carers, family members and significant others to access tailored support.


ACSO recognises that a majority of clients accessing mental health supports will have a dual diagnosis. The service has acknowledged the challenges for clients requiring a dual diagnosis approach in Victoria; these clients have had to interface with a fragmented system that still operates as a dichotomy rather than one that recognises the relationship between mental health and substance use. In order to address this, ACSO have developed a dual diagnosis assessment tool, in collaboration with NEXUS Dual Diagnosis service, to provide an integrated approach to assessment of dual diagnosis clients, ultimately giving them more choice and control. This assessment will be delivered by skilled Dual Diagnosis Clinicians.


This presentation will explore ACSO’s unique model of dual diagnosis intake and assessment and ways in which this innovative and integrated approach is aligned with Victoria’s 10 Year Mental Health Strategy to respond to need with effective, coordinated treatment and support, while also providing a solution to a key recommendation of the Review of Mental Health Community Support Services and Drug Treatment Services report. Utilising an integrated and adaptive dual diagnosis approach, ACSO will work with clients to develop treatment plans that reflect their presenting dual diagnosis concerns and seek to facilitate optimal pathways to ensure quality recovery oriented support and treatment that is designed and individualised for their needs.


Through evaluation of this Dual Diagnosis assessment tool, ACSO will build evidence and knowledge of the best way to respond to dual diagnosis clients in a streamlined and client focused way. The Dual Diagnosis assessment tool is aligned with evidence based best practice in promoting integrated service responses for dual diagnosis clients.ACSO are excited to be showcasing this innovative, integrated intake and assessment approach, and look forward to transforming the lives of people who experience a dual diagnosis.


Karina Czaplinski - Mental Health Intake and Assessment Clinician, Australian Community Support Organisation (ACSO)

After completing her Bachelor of Criminology and Justice, Karina commenced working with incarcerated individuals at Dame Phyllis Frost Centre and the Metropolitan Remand Centre. She came to ACSO in 2013 and worked across various roles including Complex Care support worker, Dual Disability Case Coordinator, and Intake and Assessment clinician for Mental Health Community Support Services (MHCSS). Her passion for working with people with mental illness, substance use disorders and those with forensic histories compelled her to commence a Master in Forensic Mental Health. Karina has an interest in mental illness, dual diagnosis, psychology, and neuroscience. She hopes to pursue a Graduate Diploma in Psychology later this year.


Mark donchi - Australian Community Support Organisation



Presentation two

The PUMP group: an innovative, co-designed and peer-led dual diagnosis waiting list group.

Eighty-five percent of individuals experiencing a mental illness will also engage in problematic alcohol and other drug use, with 75% of those with a substance use disorder also experiencing at least one mental illness/disorder.  Research consistently identifies the benefits of early intervention for consumers yet there continues to be a gap in service provision in Victoria for people experiencing a dual diagnosis along with lengthy delays for those attempting to access treatment.  


For three years the  Australian Community Support Organisation has delivered DUETS (Developing Understanding, Expertise, Treatment and Systems in Dual Diagnosis), a Department of Health funded project building the dual diagnosis (DD) capability of service providers across Victoria. DUETS collaborates with ACSO’s Mental Health Community Support Services (MHCSS) and Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Intake Assessment Services (IAS) across Victoria to ensure dual diagnosis informed service provision across the MHCSS and AOD sectors.  ACSO will present our innovative response to addressing the needs of consumers accessing MHCSS IAS in regional Victoria who present with a DD and are awaiting MHCSS treatment, or are considered ineligible for MHCSS support. 


DUETS collaborated with NEXUS in Melbourne to co-design PUMP (Participate Understand Motivate Persevere) an innovative, evidence based psycho-educational bridging service for those with a dual diagnosis who are currently unsupported. Recognising that consumers’ readiness for change can diminish in the waiting period between intake and access, PUMP implemented a range of strategies to maintain participant engagement and motivation.


The PUMP group program consists of four sessions where consumers learn skills and tools from the Optimal Health framework, and utilises motivational interviewing techniques. Each 90 minute session is standalone, enabling consumers to engage according to need. With innovative use of available technologies, resources including fact sheets, videos, web-links are provided to consumers between sessions via SMS prompts and telephone.


The program fills an existing gap in services for those with a dual diagnosis and sits across all three tiers of NDIS in that PUMP provides a direct service, disseminates information and facilitates referral, and has been instrumental in building the capacity of the MCHSS and AOD sector around dual diagnosis informed service delivery through facilitator training, which includes training of external MHCSS service providers, and group facilitation. 


Pump continues to be delivered in Victoria and to be informed and refined by evaluation and participant feedback, with participant input and evaluation outcomes key features of this presentation. Pump is currently under revision to ensure culturally appropriate materials for participants who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.


Janette Berry - Dual Diagnosis Consultant, ACSO

With a background in psychology, Janette has worked in alcohol and other drugs since the late 1990s, including six years in court drug diversion at the Magistrates’ Court Victoria and another six as a member of the original team that set up and established Victoria’s first Neighbourhood Justice Centre, located in Collingwood.  Currently Janette is employed by the Australian Community Support Organisation (ACSO), where she initially managed the team of forensic AOD assessors before accepting a new role managing the Mental Health Community Support Services and AOD intake and assessment team at Richmond, while also holding the position of Dual Diagnosis Consultant.  Late last year Janette commenced full-time in the Dual Diagnosis Consultant role and is currently working on a number of innovative responses to dual diagnosis.

The highlights of Janette’ professional career have been her involvement in setting up the Street Sex Workers’ Court, establishing Aboriginal Hearing Day at the NJC and recently assisting in the development of a forensic module with a focus on dual diagnosis.






Presentation one

Through the Looking glass.

Like Alice service providers and consumers of Mental Health services are about to travel into a new world, the NDIS, and it is a world we do not fully understand yet. NDIS will challenge our perceptions of place and purpose and adventures will abound…. Well at least that is how it may feel.


The imminent arrival of NDIS is creating opportunities to dramatically change the way service providers do business. It is also providing consumers with more control and flexibility in the way they receive services. With this in mind cohealth has spent the last year testing new approaches both to the design of our activities and the method of delivery. There are many issues regarding Mental Health and NDIS that are yet to be ironed out, this presentation will not address the potential gaps or any hidden pitfalls in the new service paradigm. This presentation aims to describe what we do and share insights gained, along with some of our most interesting results. We will share consumer stories and staff experiences.


Consumers work alongside their coach to plan for a life that is positive and possible. Through this process opportunities in the mainstream are actively pursued in order to achieve a broader more sustainable experience of their vision. Sometimes big issues require small yet targeted expert interventions, having the flexibility to access all service types in a timely way allows for a more flexible and individualised approach. This approach also assists consumers to experience greater connection with the world around them without the stigma of a “Mental Health service” being accessed yet still having the comfort of this interaction being negotiated with someone who understands.


Services within the community sector can be hard to access for people who are unwell and/or need flexibility both in access and time. Mainstream services can be more flexible for instance, working outside of the normal 9 to 5  or being mobile thereby meeting the consumer in the community or home. Partnering in this way allows our coaches to focus on the tasks they specialise in such as coaching and support without merging into roles that can be sourced elsewhere.


cohealth partners with numerous mainstream service providers both formally and informally to deliver creative  individualised responses to consumers goals. Rather than keeping service delivery in house we use resources in the mainstream world to skip queues, assist with hoarding, integrate services, educate, link into mainstream recreational activities, support tax returns, dog training and so much more. Understanding that providers may have little experience assisting people with Mental Health challenges cohealth supports providers in the mainstream world to become more accessible to consumers.


This presentation is a sharing of lessons learned in our quest to adjust to the new world, test some of the assumptions made by NDIA and inform the development of NDIS where possible.


Rachael Scott – Manager Community Managed Mental Health Services, cohealth




Presentation two

Plumbing and poetry – maintaining mission in an NDIS environement.

NDIS promises a more equitable distribution of supports and funding to people living with a disability by placing the power of “choice and control” into the hands of the participants of the scheme. This celebrated and overdue change to the sector has the potential to dovetail elegantly with the sector’s already established principle of self-directed care and recovery oriented, strengths based practice.


Often understated, but equally important, is long term scheme viability. This necessity is mitigated by the NDIA’s assessment of “reasonable and necessary’ supports.


In many practical ways service providers, either by design or default, will find themselves sandwiched between these two requirements; advocating for the best possible outcomes for the people they support while in some cases needing to be the “reasonable and necessary” support that may be adequate without being exceptional. Both NDIS and the sector want this scheme to be successful for the participants it is designed to support and as such both have a role in ensuring this outcome.


The challenges of maintaining high quality support services in a changed funding environment will be experienced in differing ways by all established agencies as NDIS rolls out across Victoria. Agencies will need to find increased efficiencies in ancillary supports associated with direct support provision to align with a reduced unit cost. Agencies will also need to ensure that these efficiencies do not compromise the quality of the direct support provision being provided to participants of the scheme.


The development of sophisticated “back of house” systems to assist and scaffold the ‘core business’ or ‘mission’ work of the NFP sector will be an expectation in this new environment. This is the “Plumbing” and will ideally achieve the goal of scheme viability.


The ongoing ‘mission’ of already established agencies in the sector along with the maintenance, development and continued innovation in the sector; this is the “Poetry” and aligns with the scheme goal of participant outcomes.


The presentation will focus on Ermha's experience in the Barwon NDIS launch site. Participants will gain an understanding of the challenges faced by an organisation in the new funding environment. Increased accountability and information management in a restricted funding environment presents unique challenges to the NFP sector. Individualised funding, dealing with unit costing, workforce management and maintaining staff morale and culture in a rapidly changing sector will be discussed during the presentation.


Developing the required 'back of house' efficiencies' while maintaining an organisations values and mission remains the ongoing challenge of the NDIS rollout.. “Plumbing and Poetry”.


Alyse Boase - Director of Operations, Ermha Ltd


Giuseppe Prestia - Service Manager (Barwon) Ermha Ltd

Giuseppe began his employment with Ermha in 2006 in the Support and Choice Program working intensely with complex and very challenging clients developing his skills for client advocacy, therapeutic approaches, conflict resolution, mediation and the varieties of community based responses and supports available to clients.

After this period and towards the end of 2009 Giuseppe spent 6 months working in the Intensive Support Services Program which expanded his skills by working with a variety of clients with differing psychiatric disabilities.

At the beginning of 2010 Giuseppe was given the role of Manager at the new Ermha office to be established in Geelong. Given his experience in working with complex and challenging clients often with a Dual Disability or Dual Diagnosis, DHS Disability Services requested that he provide secondary consultation to other agencies. During this time, Giuseppe and other members of ermha management developed a unique service model and associated training package. This model has been presented at various conferences and the training package has been delivered to both ermha staff and external agencies.

In 2013 Giuseppe took a lead role in negotiating the changes required by Ermha Barwon during the NDIS rollout in Geelong. Over the following two years Giuseppe guided and supported the workforce, practice, financial and process implications of the changing sector environment. With the assistance of a small, highly skilled team he has successfully implemented multiple systems to manage the highly individualised nature of both support provision and individualised funding. Package design, monitoring outcomes, practice and ongoing financial viability have been the key areas of development and growth. Giuseppe has presented at both NDS conferences and workshops in the past. His presentations have focused on the importance of unit costs and pricing and are delivered from the perspective of an ‘on the ground’ lay person’s experience. With a 100% growth in support provision being provided by ermha Barwon over the past 2 years innovation, development and improvement remain ongoing.

Qualifications: Bachelor of Humanities (Honours) LaTrobe University






Presentation one

Mental health at work – experiencing co-design – the result.

This session will share the story of the Consumer and Carer Co-Design Initiative from the perspectives of different participant experience. Presented as a learning case study, the session will explore lessons learned in co-design and suggest key practices to support authentic co-design. The session will focus on outcomes and experiences from the first co-design forums held in Melbourne and Sydney in 2016.


The Co-Design Initiative was developed in response to the recommendations of the National Review of Mental Health Programmes and the implementation of Primary Health Networks. An opportunity was identified for consumers and carers to be the initiators of the process rather than waiting for governments, service providers and practitioners to lead the way.


This is a national project to enable large numbers of consumers and carers to co-design and co-produce community based mental health services in partnership with Primary Health Networks, service providers and practitioners.


The Initiative’s primary objective is to use co-design methods to: “co-create a blueprint for co-design in PHN regions – a model for consumer and carer leadership in co-design that demonstrates the value of placing co-design at the centre of health system reform”


During the session, presenters will reflect on their own and other’s personal experience in the project and the factors that make co-design effective and authentic. The draft outcomes of the Co-design Initiative will be presented outlining a model for consumer and carer engagement hubs as vital components of mental health system reform in PHN regions.


A brief interactive co-design discussion will provide participants with an opportunity to engage with the draft recommendations from the Co-design Initiative and add their voice to the ongoing process of co-designing a blueprint for consumer, carer and professional collaboration in the future.


Douglas Holmes


- Part 1
- Part 2


Presentation two

Hope, recovery and the lived Experience – A journey through Project Hope.

Project Hope (Hearing Other People’s Experiences) is committed to providing the opportunity for people attending our service to have meaningful involvement in service development, planning and opportunities for their voice to be heard in a variety of ways.


We have learnt that by creating welcoming, hopeful and empathic services we reduce stigma and support transformed self-perception of those who engage with us. Through awareness of language and creating avenues for people to share their story, we increase compassionate awareness and reduce judgement and misunderstanding. The voice of the lived experience is heard through Celebrating Recovery events, peer support groups, community forums, conference presentations, a Hope Orientation Bus tour of Alcohol and Other Drug and Mental Health Services and a ‘Walk a mile in my shoes’ newsletter.


More recently our clients and carers have worked with us to release a documentary film “Walk a Mile in My Shoes” and a supporting book of the same name full of poetry, writing and artwork about their recovery journeys.


This session, co-designed and facilitated by our clients and carers, will present the ways in which they have been engaged with Project Hope and what this has meant for their personal recovery journey.


Simone Roberts – Project Officer – EACH

Simone Roberts is the Project Officer for Project Hope at EACH Social and Community Health. She has worked in the community health sector for 10 years as an Accredited Practising Dietitian, Health Promotion Officer and Project Officer.  She has enjoyed the diversity of working with individual clients as a Dietitian as well as with community groups, schools and organisations through health promotion and project officer roles.

In her current Project Hope role with the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug team she is passionate about listening to the voice of the people attending the service, helping them to share their recovery stories and creating welcoming and hopeful systems to reduce stigma and help people to thrive.


Steve Adams – Peer Support Worker, Knox Community Health Service

I first applied the studied theories and my own recovery practices at The Salvation Army Bridge Withdrawal Unit as a support worker and caseworker. As Peer Support Worker at Knox Community Health Service since 2012, I have rallied for the hearing of the lived experience. I hope to reduce stigma by raising community awareness around AOD and mental health, to promote non-labelling language, and to foster social connection of those feeling isolated by their condition.


- Part 1
- Part 2
- Part 3
- Part 4
- Part 5
- Part 6
- Part 7
- Part 8
- Part 9




Presentation one

Leading through disruptive change - hypothetical.

The mental health sector is undergoing seismic change, not least with the ‘disruption’ of the NDIS. What is the leadership needed in the face of disruption and uncertainty, and how can you create opportunity through change?


Learn by doing in this interactive and engaging ‘hypothetical’ using the Harvard Case Method to explore a real life scenario where adaptive leader in a community service sector face a similar complex challenge and seek to drive and manage change for improved outcomes – with a surprise twist!


Richard Dent OAM – CEO, Leadership Victoria

Leadership Victoria, which delivers the Community Managed Mental Health Leadership and Management Program, explores the difference between technical and adaptive leadership with improved outcomes for our staff, teams, organisations and clients while tackling a complex and disruptive change.


John Katsourakis – Manager Education and Training, VICSERV

John has specific expertise in managing, designing and delivering professional development for managers and staff. John has completed a BSc, Grad Dip in PE and Recreation for the Disables, Dip Business (Frontline Management) and a Cert IV in Training and Assessment.


There was no formal powerpoint as part of this presentation. 



Presentation one

The emergence of local peer hubs across Victoria - outcomes and future directions.

As the peer workforce continues to grow across Victoria, a number of peer hubs/networks have formed. The establishment of these hubs has largely been driven by lived experience workers, looking to connect to other peers in their local area. Many of these lived experience workers are located in regional areas of Victoria who face challenges attending peer networking and professional development opportunities offered in Melbourne by peak organisations.


National and international evidence supports the establishment of peer hubs/networks to enable lived experience workers to come together and receive mutual support, role specific training and supervision. The Mental Health Consumer Workforce Review (2010) identified that “consumer workers have reported experiencing a feeling of isolation in their role, either by working as a sole consumer worker within a mental health service or working in a rural/remote setting”. To address this, the review recommended that support structures be established, to “ensure consumer workers have contact and networking opportunities with each other.”


According to the Health Workforce Australia Mental Health Peer Workforce Study (2014) a number of respondents reported challenges in working in rural and remote locations, including isolation and a lack of networking opportunities with other peer workers for support.” Internationally, the Scottish Recovery Network (SRN) identified that peer hubs/networks play an integral role in supporting peer workers to remain true to the principles of lived experience work and challenge the co-option of peer roles into mainstream roles. The Mental Health Commission of Canada recommended that organisations with peer support programs should facilitate and encourage their peer support workers to maintain a connection with a peer support community of practice. In this context, a community of practice involves a group of peer support workers meeting on a regular basis to support each other, share knowledge and experiential learning, and keep each other committed to, and consistent with, the values and principles of the practice of mental health peer support.


The majority of recently established peer hubs/networks in Victoria are cross-organisational, bringing together consumer and carer peer workers from community and clinical mental health services. The scope, aims and functioning of each hub is unique, often formed by the group itself following agreement on an appropriate framework and local needs.


This symposium/presentation will involve presentations from members of four distinct peer hubs across Victoria, the Great South Coast Peer Hub, Eastern Peer Support Network, Grampians Mental Health Peer Workers Network and the Peninsula peer hub. Each peer hub will share with the audience their experience of establishing and participating in a peer hub. This will include an overview of each hub’s scope, purpose, challenges and outcomes. Presentations will cover a number of topics including working collaboratively cross-organisationally, connecting clinical and community lived experience workers, involving consumer and carer peer workers, balancing professional development opportunities with reflective practice, advocacy, ethics, accessibility and sustainability. The audience will be invited to discuss the future of peer hubs across Victoria and the role they play in supporting peer workforce development.


Lead presenter

Cassy Nunan - Consultant Consumer Advocacy and Leadership, MI Felllowship

Cassy Nunan (BA Hons, Grad Dip Couns’) is MI Fellowship’s Consultant Consumer Advocacy and Leadership. Cassy is a trained counsellor who has 12 years experience working in community mental health.  She has performed multiple roles at MI Fellowship, and her contribution includes:  Research and development of the peer facilitated MI Recovery Program, facilitation of MI Recovery groups, development of peer workforce framework and peer specialist training, delivery of peer specialist trainings and peer hub establishment workshops, delivery of peer supervisor training. Cassy has presented on peer workforce development and peer education at multiple conferences and forums in Australia and internationally.  Lived experience informs and motivates Cassy’s work values. She is passionate about justice and inclusion for people experience mental health challenges, and their families. Cassy is currently finishing a cross-disciplinary PhD in English and Social Work.



Representatives from each of the following hubs/networks:

  • Great South Coast Peer Hub
  • Eastern Peer Support Network
  • Grampians Mental Health Peer Workers Network
  • Peninsula peer hub





- Part 1
- Part 2 



Presentation one

Leading our own transformation.

Platform Trust is a New Zealand collaboration of community organisations that are providing services to individuals, families and communities where mental health and addictions are an issue.


After many years of describing the issues that get in the way of the ability of the community sector to deliver stellar services we have changed our strategy. Whilst we were effective in describing the problems such as funding inequities, poor contracting practices, the burden of compliance and lack of investment in the community workforce, the problems remained. We decided to change course, lead from the front, find some partners and together transform the way the mental health and addiction system is working.


Mental ill-health and addictions have huge personal, social and economic costs. These issues affect individuals, families, communities, schools, prisons and workplaces as well as being a leading health issue. The mental health and addiction system is under pressure to change, the linear clinically lead system may have served us well in the past but it is broken and there is no one agency that can solve these complex social issues. These issues are too important to leave to Government alone to tackle. This presentation aligns with many of the themes of the conference as we all look to new ways to provide creative responses and adapt to a changing social and fiscal environment.


Over the past two years Platform and Te Pou have called upon international evidence, emergent social practice, disruptive technology, co-production and advice from people who use services and huge amounts of good will.  We are exploring the edges of the growing evidence from social network theory, collective impact and complex adaptive systems theory. This is work in progress and we are learning as we go.


We will draw on our experiences in collective action around multiple activities we have called Equally Well. This is about the whole of the health system taking action to improve the physical health of people who live with mental illness and addictions. We share our experiences of developing ‘’On Track Knowing where we are going- Co Creating a mental health and addiction system New Zealanders want and need’. On Track is about a continuous stream of small transformative actions undertaken by different people in different places all working in a consistent direction to address the wide range of challenges that face the mental health and addictions system.


Whilst there are differences in New Zealand and Australia’s mental health and addiction systems much of what we are doing is about universal engagement that’s why we are keen to share what we are doing, what we are learning and connect with others at the Vicserv Conference.


Marion Blake – CEO, Platform Trust


- Part 1
- Part 2
- Part 3
- Part 4
- Part 5



Presentation one

Innovation in consumer participation through co-production.

Human Rights Conventions and Australian Policy clearly articulate the right for consumers to be actively involved in the planning evaluating and delivery of services as well as full inclusion into society. To move beyond tokenistic and adhoc processes Neami National has commenced a whole organisation change management process that has been co designed by consumers from the beginning. The development of a consumer participation framework articulates a strategy that builds capacity for consumer learning and leadership to challenge attitudes and increase worker’s understanding of how participation can move beyond the “us and them” space.


The implementation of the consumer participation framework uses principles of co- production to bring together workers and consumers in designing participation at every service site, the community in which people live as well as all organisational functions. The co-production process recognises the skills and talents that consumers can bring to the table rather than being differentiated by consumer status only. It ensures that the same information is shared with everybody involved. Through specific examples this presentation aims to demonstrate how Neami asked and listened to consumers about their participation that lead to a co designed change management process which will create a transformative process for pathways for a new leadership to emerge.



  1.  Gordon S. (2005). “The role of the consumer in the leadership and management of mental health services”, Australasian Psychiatry, 13(4): 362-5
  2. New Economics Foundation (nef) (2013). “Co-production in mental health A Literature review. Accessed from:


Julie Anderson -  Manager Consumer Participation Strategy, Neami National.

Julie's role is to support the organisation to implement co-production as a process to strengthen consumer participation across the organisation. In 2015 Julie completed the National Mental Health Commissions Future Leaders in Mental Health program and is a member of MHA National Register of consumer advocates. Julie has provided advice to Federal and State governments from a lived experience perspective. Julie has completed the Australian Company Directors course and currently sits on the Board of directors for Forensicare in Victoria.


Kathy McCormick - Peer Support Worker and Peer Health Coach

Kathy worked as a peer support worker and peer health coach before moving to her current position of Consumer Participation Officer for Neami Victoria. Kathy has a degree in Community Cultural Development and takes a strong interest in the creative development of recovery concepts and language from lived experience perspectives.




Presentation two

Road to recovery – enablers and barriers to Tackling Tobacco.

Given ongoing mental health reforms and the Victorian Government’s recent commitment’s to tackle the ‘physical health problems that disproportionately affect people with mental illness’ , it is an opportune time to address the negative outcomes caused by tobacco use among people with a mental illness.


Although significant progress has been made in reducing general smoking rates, smoking among people with a mental illness remain persistently high.  Emerging evidence shows that smoking also increases the risk of symptoms of depression and the incidence of mood and anxiety disorders. Despite this, many people experiencing mental health issues are not accessing evidence-based or consistent smoking cessation supports. Taking a targeted approach to reducing smoking in people with mental illness is therefore a priority for Quit Victoria.


Quit Victoria will showcase how we partner with the sector to pilot an organisational change model to embed smoking cessation in Victoria’s mental health services. This model is designed to support organisations across the spectrum of capacity and readiness for change in addressing smoking – from contemplating, preparing, improving to continuing to provide smoking care.  The Tackling Tobacco Mental Health Project aims to trial and develop this model for the Victorian context, leveraging on the framework, tools and resources developed in the established NSW Tackling Tobacco program.


A key focus of this presentation will be to highlight the enablers, barriers and requirements for successfully embedding smoking cessation in Victorian mental health services. These are based on in-depth consultations with service providers, as part of completing phase one of the project. This project phase will provide Quit Victoria and participating agencies a project plan for testing the model in each organisation and a strategy for future partnerships with other interested project partners.


The Tackling Tobacco Mental Health Project aims to develop a transformative approach to achieve better outcomes for consumers, carers, staff and organisations. By trialling and adapting the change model in partnership with the Victorian mental health sector, the project provides a strong example of the conference key concepts of co-design and effective consultation, innovative policy and service development, and peer-led transformation. Quit looks forward to the opportunity to contribute to the sector’s recovery agenda, through providing a road to a hopeful future for staff and consumers to be tobacco-free and improve their physical and mental health.


Luke Atkin and Sian Lloyd - Cessation, Partnerships & Priority Settings Quit Victoria