NMHCCF & MHLEEN: Co-producing Lived Experience Leadership resources – a new partnership in mental health

The National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum (NMHCCF) is a combined voice for mental health consumers and carers. It aims to listen, learn, influence and advocate in matters of mental health reform.

The National PHN Mental Health Lived Experience Engagement Network (MHLEEN) established in 2018 aims to embed Lived Experience engagement in the commissioning of primary mental health services, promote and build the peer workforce and have a national network of PHN’s and other stakeholders working together to ensure ‘nothing about us without us’.

In late 2020 members of the NMHCCF and MHLEEN discussed their priority areas of work and identified alignment in the area of Lived Experience leadership. They agreed to pursue a formal partnership and MOU to co-contribute and co-produce mental health lived experience (consumers, carers and peer workers) leadership capacity resources.

The rationale for these projects is that an increasingly significant feature of the contemporary mental health policy environment is lived experience co-production and leadership. Currently, multiple organisations and many individuals provide lived experience input into an array of research, policy, programmatic and practice initiatives, but the sector lacks co-production maturity and the lived experience workforce is fragmented, variable in quality and lacks a clear understanding of what constitutes lived experience expertise in a system-design sense.

Governments, public mental health services and community managed services also lack coproduction capabilities and the approach towards co-design is variable, ad-hoc and largely tokenistic.

The projects aim to consolidate and promote existing initiatives and resources to facilitate effective growth of mental health lived experience voices and leadership.

The three projects have NMHCCF and MHLEEN members on project steering groups. The
projects are:

  1. The establishment a central national repository of mental health consumer and carer leadership-related knowledge and initiatives to be included on the NMHCCF website
  2. The co-design of a Mental Health Lived Experience Governance Framework and Toolkit to guide identified priority organisations and jurisdictions when engaging with people with lived experience, and
  3.  Review of formal lived experience leadership education and training

The projects are due for completion in mid-2022. The funding for the projects has been sourced from Commonwealth, state and territories as part of annual project budgets.

Further information on these projects can be obtained from the NMHCCF Secretariat at: nmhccf@mhaustralia.org

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