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Advocacy Matters: IMHA Independent Mental Health Advocacy

How we're tracking

More than 3000 advocacy and self-advocacy coaching services to people receiving compulsory mental health treatment have been provided in the first ten months since IMHA officially got underway.

As well, information and referral have been provided 5500 times. We've now completed the setup of outposts in all 34 designated mental health services throughout Victoria, and building relationships with these services has been a continued focus.

Read more about our first ten months.

Feedback from people who've used our service

IMHA Manager Helen Makregiorgos says that we have received a range of positive feedback from people who have accessed our services.
'We felt it was important to share a couple of these as they are what people accessing the service wanted us to know about their experience,' says Helen.

'One person who got in touch told us:
I write to express my sincere appreciation for the outstanding clarification of information and support provided to me by the IMHA advocate…She ensured that I was aware of my rights whilst being treated as an involuntary patient…I remain highly grateful for the compassion and clarity provided during such a vulnerable time. She assisted me immensely in knowing that such help in the form of Advocacy was available and provided me with hope and relief of the fear of feeling afraid and alone.

'Another person said:
'I appreciated the service I received from IMHA because if the advocate didn’t do what she did today, I wouldn’t have been able to cross that bridge and would have lost the courage and confidence to express my views.'
Helen says: 'These comments also resonate for me as we know many consumers had advocated for so many years to have a service such as IMHA established, as consumer academic Cath Roper so passionately stated when she spoke at the launch of IMHA in 2015.'

Two further examples of people's expereince of our support are now on our website.

Getting consumer views on our services

Two recent initiatives are ensuring that we keep the views of consumers at the forefront of our work and planning.

'Speaking from experience'

The formation of the ‘Speaking from Experience’ group is an exciting new initiative and recognition by Victoria Legal Aid (VLA, which operates the IMHA service) of the value of the consumer perspective. 

It aims to integrate the consumer perspective into the way VLA delivers services and ensure services respond to their clients.

Gaining consumer perspectives in mental health services has been recognised as critical for many years. It is a new focus for VLA and will lead the way in the legal landscape.

Read more about the 'Speaking from experience' group.

Consumer consultation complete

Daniel Van Der Pluym, who was on secondment from the peak body for people with a lived experience of mental illness, VMIAC, has now completed his consultation. Daniel got the views of 49 consumers across the state about what they wanted from advocacy and what tools and resources they needed to make decisions and self-advocate.

His comprehensive report will soon be available and we will report more on this in our next edition.

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