VMIAC Awards 2021 Highlights

The 2021 VMIAC Awards was an exciting event that celebrated consumers and their allies and the work they have done to champion the rights and lived experience of their peers. As lived experience consumers, our voices have often been ignored, or outright silenced, by systems that have refused to treat us as the experts of our own lives, experiences, and identities, and it is with the VMIAC Awards that we brought together consumers, allies, and organisations to address that silence.

2021 was also an exciting year for the VMIAC Awards in many other ways. This year marked the release of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, a ground-breaking report that for the first time put lived experience voices at the forefront of the future of Victoria’s Mental Health System. This change has gone a long way to legitimise lived experience voices within the sector, and start creating a world where there is truly, “Nothing About Us, Without Us.” This was also the first Awards we hosted entirely online, and dealt with the teething tech issues, but also possibilities, and accessibility, that comes with that change. Overall, it was an amazingly well received event. We are now proud to share with you the highlights of the night’s festivities, and the names of our winners and highly commended nominees.


Highlight Reel – Bonus Features

Before we get into the wonderful award winners, and highly commended nominees, first we are excited to show you the bonus features of the night. Introductions from VMIAC CEO Craig Wallace, and Previous Chair Kathy Wilson, our wonderful Welcome to Country from Uncle Bill, amazing speeches by Hon. James Merlino (Deputy Premier of Victoria and Minister for Mental Health) and Katherine Whetton (Deputy Secretary, Mental Health & Wellbeing Division at the Department of Health), as well as a wonderful musical piece by Saint Ergo, introduced by Drummond St. CEO Karen Field. Click below to watch.

This video is a edited highlight reel of a livestreamed event.

Highlight Reel – Winners and Highly Commended

Every one of our winners and highly commended nominees have dearly earned the praise they received. Below you will find a highlight reel of the night’s event that shows our introductions from our wonderful award sponsors, and our MC of the night Chantelle (VMIAC Membership Lead), as well as the speeches of each award winner. Click below to watch. A full list of award winners and highly commended nominees can be found below the video.

This video is a edited highlight reel of a livestreamed event.

The 2021 Lifetime Achievement and Lifetime Ally Award

The Lifetime Achievement and Lifetime Ally Award are in recognition of the groundbreaking U&I Project. Originally a Participatory Action Research Project begun in the early 90s, The U&I Project laid the groundwork for a lot of the consumer research in Victoria that influences organisations like VMIAC to this day.

In acknowledgment of this work, The Lifetime Achievement and The Lifetime Ally Awards were awarded this year to the five main contributors of the report including;

  • Merinda Epstein (Lifetime Achievement)
  • Ross Findlay (Lifetime Achievement)
  • Yoland Wadsworth (Lifetime Ally)

The 2021 Human Rights Award


Heidi Everett


Jodie Fisher

The 2021 Intersectional Advocacy Award


Tamara Lovett

Highly Commended

Francis Acquah

The 2021 Consumer Worker of the Year (Community) Award


Bianca Childs

Highly Commended

Tyson Hill

The 2021 Consumer Worker of the Year (Clinical) Award


Neelam Rai

Highly Commended

Sue Belmore

The 2021 CAG (Consumer Advisory Group) Award


Youth Advisory Council – headspace: Greensborough

  • Lita Ansell
  • Jamison Davies
  • Kate Byriell
  • Madeleine Cameron
  • Gloria Rapisard

Highly Commended

MIND Lived Experience Advisory Team

  • Carolynne White
  • Anna Lampugnani
  • Vassie Dandanis
  • Amy Falconer
  • Clara Chapman
  • Samantha Martin
  • Jim Brewer

The 2021 Ally of the Year Award


Helen Makregiorgos

Highly Commended

Jessica Anson

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