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…

A Note from the VMIAC CEO


In 1996, following research to explore how consumers could be involved in service decision making, the Victorian Department of Health took an innovative step in providing funds to services to employ consumer in roles that would focus on quality improvements from the consumer perspective. Over the past 20 years’ consumer knowledge, expertise and leadership has grown and made significant changes to the experiences of consumers across the state.

To mark the 20th anniversary of the beginnings of the consumer workforce, VMIAC, as the peak body for consumers, will sponsor an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of consumers and consumer workers.

The inaugural VMIAC consumer awards will consist of 6 Awards for Consumers who have made a significant contribution to consumer work, either paid or voluntary, and that raises the voice of consumers and contributes to improvement of consumers experiences in Victoria. All awardees will receive a handmade glass trophy, with the lifetime achievement award also receiving a grant of $2000 and all other awardees receiving a grant of $500.

1. Life Time Achievement Award

· Person must demonstrate a significant achievement in the advancement of consumer perspective.

2. Human Rights Award

· Person has worked with a strong Human Rights focus and has contributed to the application of these rights in the mental health sector in Victoria.

3. Diversity Award

· In addition to experience as a consumer, this person will also identity as ATSI, CALD, LGTBI or has having a disability. This person will use both the experience of using mental health services and their diversity to improve the experiences of consumers in Victoria.

4. Consumer Worker of the year (Clinical sector)

· A consumer who has worked for a minimum of 2 years in the clinical sector and has made a significant difference to the way that the service responds to the experiences of consumers.

5. Consumer Worker of the year (Community sector)

· A consumer who has worked for a minimum of 2 years in the community sector and has made a significant difference to the way that the service responds to the experiences of consumers.

6. Consumer Advisory group (clinical or community).

· The group must have been operating for a minimum of 2 years and be able to demonstrate a significant contribution to the experiences of consumers of the service.

Please see the following nomination form for more details

Nomination Form

Register for the event here

Easy Guide to completion of your Advance Statement

An Advance Statement is a statement of your treatment preferences in the event you become unwell and require compulsory mental health treatment; and can be referred to when you are finding it difficult to effectively communicate your wishes to your treating team.

When you are unwell it can often be hard to think clearly, hard to tell people what you want and even harder to get someone to listen; particularly if you are determined not to have decision making capacity. An Advance Statement is an opportunity and formal way for you to state your preferences, to provide an overall understanding of you as a person and what is important to you.

Take a look at our easy guide or the template for your completion.

Community Services reform

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 Human Services (DHHS) service providers.

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.

Mental Health Act 2014

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.

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

In 2012 the Consumer Partnership Forum, involving VMIAC, the consumer workforce and the Department of Health and Human Services was formed to identify the issues of concern to the consumer community and to enable the DHHS 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.

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