Consumer and Carers Initiative

We have a fully functional Consumer Advocate network that works to raise awareness about the issues that consumers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are facing when it comes to mental health issues. We believe that the first step to solving a problem is identifying the problem and accepting the fact that it exists. This is what our consumer advocate achieves by working with the government, service providers, and policymakers to deal with cultural diversity and solve issues faced by consumers from these backgrounds.

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Role of Consumer Advocates

They provide psychiatric disability rehabilitation support services and mental health specialists with strategies on how best to work with clients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

They promote the needs of these culturally diverse consumers to government agencies that deal with mental health as well as mental health services providers.

They advise mental health services providers and workers on the priority needs of CALD consumers.

They work with consumer groups to carry out community development initiatives and develop the necessary skills for advocacy.

They also function in a consultancy capacity on committees focused on the interest of consumers and providing better support for CALD clients.

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Carers

Carers occupy a significant role in the treatment and management of mental health disorders. They also suffer the most consequences of a psychiatric problem outside of the actual patient. This is because the effect of diagnosis or hospitalization of a person for mental illness takes a direct toll on the loved ones, which could include friends and families. This set of people usually experience a type of trauma that many find difficult to discuss with others. They feel isolated and confused at that point in time as one of the ways to help carers going through this difficult period to manage it efficiently and stay healthy, which is necessary if they are to keep caring for the patient, the VTPU and its partners have developed Caring Together. This is a peer to peer support program that gives carers the opportunity to talk to another carer who has probably experience the same feeling in the past and will therefore be more equipped at listening and giving the right support needed at that point in time which includes finding the available services.

The program was born due to the collaborative effort of ARAFEMI Victoria and Northern Mental Health Alliance. It is managed by mental health workers and carers of friend or family member with a mental health issue. It is an amazing program that offers members.

Stigma Reduction

Part of consumer initiative is finding ways to reduce the stigma that is associated with mental illness, especially in CALD communities. VTPU does this by publishing the stories and experiences of such people in books, local newspapers and magazine, and community radio. We believe that by talking about it and creating awareness, all the myths and stigma associated can be debunked.

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