Welcome to VMIAC

VMIAC is the peak Victorian non-government organisation for people who have experience with a mental illness or emotional distress. VMIAC engages in a number of activities, which include information provision, advice, mutual support and self-help, individual, group and systemic advocacy, research and evaluation, and education and training.

We look forward to working with you…

PDRSS Reform Helpline Announced

May 2014

The new reforms to the Psychiatric Disability Rehabilitation and Support Services (PDRSS) in Victoria are continuing to be rolled out. The Department of Health has recently announced the successful organisations that will become the new Mental Health Community Support Services (MHCSS) providers. To access the latest department communique, which outlines the successful organisations please click the pdf link. These reforms will mean changes in the way people receive support in the community.

From 1st August 2014, it is possible that the service provider/s in your local area may change. Some people will be able to stay with their current service, while others will need to move to a new service over the next few months. Everyone who is currently receiving PDRSS will continue to receive support.

At this stage, it would be good to discuss these changes with your current service provider, who will support you to move across to a new service if required. If you don’t feel you’re getting enough support from your current service for any reason, you can contact a transition support worker. These workers will be able to help you choose a new service in your local area and help you make contact with the new service if needed.

We are aware that big changes like this can be hard for people. We are determined that every person who is affected is given all the support and information they need to make the move to the new service arrangements.

If you have any questions about the changes, please call Mandy or Daniel at VMIAC on 1800 129 686 (free call)

Victoria has a new Mental Health Act

May 2014

On the 26th of March 2014, Victorian Parliament passed the Mental Health Bill 2014 with 3 small amendments.

The Bill was proclaimed as the Mental Health Act 2014 on the 8th of April 2014.

The new Act will commence on 1 July 2014.

Please keep checking the Mental Health Act Reform section of our website for the latest updates as we move towards July.

The Mental Health Bill 2014

February 2014

Latest News:

The Mental Health Bill 2014 was introduced and had its first reading in the Victorian Parliament on Tuesday 18th of February, 2014.

The Bill had its second reading on Thursday 20th of February, 2014 which means that it has been ‘tabled’ and is now officially a public document.

The Bill will now have to go through the Parliamentary process before it can become law in the form of the new Mental Health Act 2014.

We will keep you up to date throughout the stages of this process, and as more information comes to hand.

Click here for the link to the Department of Health’s Mental Health Act reform website, which also has links to the Bill, an explanatory guide and a range of information resources.

Drop-In Service Survey

VMIAC in conjunction with the Psychiatric Disability Rehabilitation Support Sector (PDRSS) consumer workforce have put together a survey of questions regarding drop-in services. We have done this because consumers have been expressing concern that drop-in has been closed down in many community mental health organisations. The survey can be completed on line, printed and completed by hand, done in conjunction with your consumer worker, or completed through a focus group meeting that can be arranged by your consumer worker at your local service.

Take survey

We urge you to participate in this meaningful and important survey so that we may help in getting the message across.

Zero Tolerance for Sexual Assault: A safe admission for women

For many years VMIAC has been listening to women with a lived experience of mental illness talk about their experiences as patients on psychiatric in-patient units. As a consequence of these conversations, VMIAC successfully applied to the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust for funding to undertake a study on the extent to which women are subjected to sexual harassment and/or assault while in an in-patient facility. As a result of the survey data collected, we have developed a number of recommendations with the most important being that we have a zero tolerance to ANY form of harassment or abuse and commend a major culture shift on our psychiatric in-patient units.

VMIAC has completed the survey and would like to acknowledge and thank all the women who participated in the study, the Helen McPherson Smith Trust for their generosity in funding the project, Terri McNeilage who undertook the project and the Advisory committee who provided Terri with support.

You can view our report in full by viewing the PDF

The report Zero Tolerance for Sexual Assault: A safe admission for women was featured on the ABC’s 7.30 program by reporter Louise Milligan whose respectful interviews highlighted experiences from a number of women. The following day our office was inundated with calls from a variety of other media interested in assisting us to bring this issue into the public arena.

If you wish to view the segment in full it is available on the ABC website, where a transcript is also available.

VMIAC employs a Mental Health Act and PDRSS Reform Project Officer

To ensure that there is consumer engagement in the implementation of the new Mental Health Act and the reform of the PDRSS sector, the Department of Health (DoH) has given extra support to VMIAC to assist us in our work around these 2 major reform areas. Over the course of the next 12 months, VMIAC will be working to make sure that consumers and the consumer workforce:

  • Are engaged and informed about the changes occurring; and
  • Have as many opportunities for input, feedback and consultation as possible.

VMIAC will continue to advocate strongly for consumers during this time of change. As the peak body for mental health consumers, we have regular contact with the DoH and have representation on a number of advisory and stakeholder groups relating to the proposed Act and the PDRSS reforms. We will use the information that we receive from talking with you and the people you represent to advocate strongly on consumer issues. Please let us know your views and any concerns you may have.

Jump to our reform pages: Mental Health Act    PDRSS Reform

Mental Health Reform

The Minister for Mental Health, Mary Wooldridge recently announced an additional approach to mental health reform. A partnership between VMIAC, the consumer workforce and the Department of Health has been formed to identify the issues of concern to the consumer community and engage in dialogue with consumer representatives regarding health policy, planning and program development with the aim of improving the experiences and outcomes for mental health consumers.

In instigating this initiative, (the first of its kind) the Victorian Government is demonstrating its commitment to including a strong consumer voice in the reform process and is providing us with our first opportunity to set part of the reform agenda.

The first meeting was held in November and VMIAC's Director was asked to provide an overview of the issues of concern that had been raised by consumers over the years with her and VMIAC advocacy staff.

You can download a PDF copy of Isabell's speech.