Mental Health Carers Voice (MHCV) is the Peak Body for Mental Health Carers in the ACT, and we advocate for change in the community to support Mental Health Carers. A key way we do this if by consulting directly with carers to make sure your voice is heard and raised in the right places.
Joanna is a member of our Advocacy and Policy Advisory Group (APAG) who volunteers her time to help shape Mental health care and carer issues in the ACT. Joanna shares her experience with APAG below…
Why did you join APAG?
“I read about it in a newsletter, and I had dealt with the system with my some who has mental health issues and I wanted to be a part of something to help others in a similar situation.”
What are the benefits of being involved in advocacy and policy work?
“You become informed, and you get a chance to advocate for others and hopefully improve the system for those who are struggling, and it also shapes our processes and policies. One of the biggest benefits is helping others from my own personal experience and advocating to improve the system.”
What are the downsides?
“It can be extremely tiring and continuous as you are constantly stepping in and advocating. It can also be very time consuming as a committee member and not everyone is capable of being a good advocate.”
What skills are important when working with APAG?
“Being informed and mindful of other peoples experiences as it can be quite triggering for them. You also need to be willing to inform and be apart of the committee, which is very well supportive. Its also very important to have an understanding the policies, processes, and the system in the ACT and federal.”
What are the greatest challenges for carers of people with mental health issues?
“You gain an understanding and learn to navigate the mental health system in the ACT. There is a lack of understanding for carers burnout, which is constant, and you are always waiting for the next crisis to happen. You forget to look after yourself and finding the time to look after your own mental health.”
What changes have you or are you influencing through APAG?
“In the future, APAG hopes to have influenced territory policies and have a strategic plan, which will drive the direction for policy initiatives. I am hoping that these changes have made the lives of mental health carers easier through policy and advocacy.”
What changes would you like to see in the next 12 months?
“Definitely more respite services for carers who are caring for people with mental health issues, a clear path for crisis intervention, which include carers and support carers. This will great and easier for carers to navigate the services within the ACT and want carers to be aware of the services available to them and that they are supported.”
Mental Health Carers Voice (MHCV) are currently seeking new members to join the group, and there are many other consultation and advisory opportunities available with Carers ACT. Talk to us about how you can use your experience to make positive change for all carers.Get Involved
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