VMIAC was formed in 1981 during the International Year of Disabled Persons. We were incorporated in 1986.
Originally VMIAC was formed by two social workers as a way to get mental health related disability (psychosocial disability) on the agenda during the Year of Disabled Persons. Today, VMIAC is an entirely consumer-run organisation.
The early years
In the 1980s and 90s, VMIAC made important strides in getting the views of mental health consumers heard and respected. Some significant early projects that still resonate today include the Understanding and Involvement (U&I) project, the Deep Dialogue projects, the Lemon Tree Learning Book and the Lemon Looning Game.
“[The U&I project]… won several awards, including one for innovation in evaluation sponsored by the Australasian Evaluation Society. This three-year consumer enterprise remains in active use as a textbook for clinical and evaluation design students around the world.” (Epstein, 2013)
Original copies of these projects are available to read in VMIAC’s inhouse library. Read more about our history in the Our Consumer Place publication, The Consumer Movement in Australia: A Memoir of an Old Campaigner (Epstein, 2013)
Advocacy with, by and for consumers
For decades, VMIAC has advocated for what matters to mental health consumers:
- We advocate for individual consumers with mental health and related services
- We provide support and information for people to advocate for ourselves
- We develop resources for consumers on high priority topics
- We are constantly talking and listening with diverse consumers to hear the issues and what people want
- We work closely with government and the sector, on committees, projects and policy reviews
- We run campaigns, write submissions and develop policy positions about key issues
- We seek out media coverage to bring attention to our issues
- We celebrate consumer achievements
- We host events and education sessions for consumers
We know we’re still a long way from achieving our vision of consumers’ rights being respected and our choices being upheld—but we remain committed to achieving this vision.