Welcome to VMIAC

VMIAC is the peak Victorian non-government organisation for people with lived experience of mental health or emotional issues. VMIAC engages in a number of activities, including information provision, 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 MHCSS system has commenced

As the transition period from PDRSS to Mental Health Community Support Service (MHCSS) has concluded, the new MHCSS system has commenced.

VMIAC will continue to have a role in the new MHCSS service system, by ensuring that consumer issues and concerns are raised with the Department of Health and service providers. If you have any issues or would like to discuss anything regarding the MHCSS system, please contact Mandy or Daniel on 1800 129 686.

We would also like to acknowledge and thank the numerous consumers who have called our phone line or spoken with us at one of the forums we have held. We are very grateful to you for keeping us informed about your concerns and issues, so that in turn we can make sure those leading the reform are well informed to achieve the best possible outcome for all consumers.

Victoria has a new Mental Health Act

The Mental Health Act 2014 came into effect on 1st July.

The new Act has some principles and specific mechanisms to promote the right of people with lived experience to make, or participate in, the decisions that affect their lives. It increases service accountability and strengthens the rights of family/carers to also have their perspectives heard.

In these early days of transition to the new way of working with people with lived experience, we are monitoring the performance of services and taking up issues as they are brought to our attention. We would love to hear about your experiences with the new Act, including with the newly established Mental Health Complaints Commissioner or the Mental Health Tribunal. Please call us on 03 9380 3900 to share your experiences.

You can find out more about the new Mental Health Act.

PDRSS Reform

The Department of Health (DoH) is undertaking a process of reforming the way people with lived experience receive support in the community. All Psychiatric Disability Rehabilitation and Support Service (PDRSS) providers, as well as organisations that were interested in becoming providers, were offered the opportunity to put in a tender to become a Mental Health Community Support Service (MHCSS) provider, and the successful organisations were announced in May. With the new service arrangements due to take effect on 1st August, the new/continuing providers are very busy establishing their services to be ready for the change.

A large number of consumers across Victoria have been impacted by these changes, with many people needing to move from their current PDRSS to a new MHCSS provider. Change is never easy, and VMIAC is very concerned to make sure that people are adequately supported to make the transition to the new service delivery model.

To this end, we are operating a freecall 1800 number, where people can ring to ask questions, provide feedback about the impact of the reforms, or get support from a fellow-consumer for any issues that are concerning them. We are continuing to have regular meetings with the DoH and with the new service providers to talk about the impact the reform is having, and we value your feedback about your experiences. Please keep in touch with us during this transition, so that we can do our part in representing consumers’ interests. Call Mandy or Daniel on 1800 129 686 to talk to us about your experience.

VMIAC, alongside Tandem (the peak mental health carers’ organisation in Victoria), is also conducting meetings with consumers and carers across the State who have been impacted by the changes. To request a meeting, please call Daniel or Mandy on freecall 1800 129 686.

More information about the reform is available here.

Zero Tolerance for Sexual Assault: A safe admission for women

Thanks to a grant made available by the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust, VMIAC undertook a study on the extent to which women are subjected to sexual harassment and/or assault while in a psychiatric inpatient facility. View the full report.

The report was featured on the ABC’s 7.30 program. You can view the segment in full on the ABC.

VMIAC 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 that supported the work.

Consumer Partnership Forum

The Minister for Mental Health, Mary Wooldridge, has demonstrated her commitment to hearing the voice of people with lived experience by establishing the Consumer Partnership Forum. The 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 to enable the DoH to engage in dialogue with consumer representatives regarding health policy, planning and program development with the aim of improving the experiences and outcomes for people with lived experience.

Isabell Collins spoke for VMIAC at the inaugural forum in November 2012, and you can download a PDF copy of Isabell’s speech