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…
New mental health publication from Victoria Legal Aid
Victoria Legal Aid has a new publication, Getting ready for a Mental Health Review Board hearing. As its title suggests, it is for clients on an involuntary treatment order and awaiting their Mental Health Review Board hearing.
The booklet has worksheets at the back that a patient can use to help them prepare for their hearing. There is a worksheet dedicated to each criterion for involuntary treatment, and a worksheet about treatment plans and worksheet about community treatment orders.
Order a Copy: Getting ready for a Mental Health Review Board hearing
You can order up to 50 copies from the website. For bigger orders, contact the Community Legal Education team at Victoria Legal Aid on 9269 0234 (ask for Publications) or by email.
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.
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.