Family/Carer Representation & Participation Program
One of the roles of our organisation is to facilitate Carer representation on committees, boards, organisations and networks across Tasmania, particularly those relating to Mental Health Services. The Representative Service was established almost 10 years ago by the Department of Health and Human Services as one of the strategies to increase the involvement and participation of consumers and carers in the development and delivery of mental health services. The ultimate aim is to work together to improve the mental health outcomes for individuals, their families and the community.
Being a part of this program is a very rewarding experience, enabling Carers to make an important contribution in various ways. I have had the privilege of being the Carer Representative on the Steering Committee for the current Rethink Mental Health Project, which has had a key role in the design and implementation of the review of Mental Health Services in Tasmania over the past 9 months. What has been confirmed for me in that time is that our lived experience as Carers is both needed and respected by those leading the Rethink Project. I am able to bring my knowledge of how services are delivered from a grass-roots family perspective and am motivated at all times by the desire to bring about system change that is people-focussed and inclusive, and achieves the best possible outcomes for everyone who turns to our Mental Health Services for care and support.
If you are a Carer, have some spare time and would like to make a difference, please consider putting your valuable lived experience to good use by volunteering to participate in the Representative Service. You will receive a sitting fee and will be remunerated for your preparation and travel time. In my experience, being involved and making a contribution to the future mental health of our State is the reward that really counts.
Contributed by Kate Shipway
President of Mental Health Carers Tasmania