New resources help consumers speak up and protect their rights

New resources help consumers speak up and protect their rights

Monday, 8 April 2019

Consumers have told us that they want choices about how they direct their treatment and advocacy. So last year we began the Self-Advocacy and Information project, tasked with co-producing self-advocacy resources to help consumers use their rights in flexible and tailored ways.

The project worked with consumers from our Speaking from Experience advisory group, as well as state-wide focus groups with consumers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and those who identify as being part of the LGBTIQ community.

‘Consumers wanted different resources for different points in their self-advocacy journey, and in different formats. Some people wanted resources for when they are in crisis, others wanted interactive tools that guide them through difficult decisions, and others yet wanted information that could be tailored to their circumstances’, said Senior Project Officer Simon Katterl.

‘Consumers told us that issues of power differences with psychiatrists, stigma within services and a lack of information were barriers to speaking up. So with their help we have made resources that connect to this lived reality. So these tools give rights information, but also practical tips and ideas that we know can help’, said Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) Manager Helen Makregiorgos.

Self advocacy tools are available now
We have released new self-advocacy tools

Self-advocacy tools

We have developed the following tools:

  • fact sheets and videos on the issues that we were told matter most, such as having more say in treatment, what to do when you don’t want compulsory treatment and asking for leave from the hospital
  • a model or way to do self-advocacy that is available in writing and in video
  • stories that show consumers speaking up in different settings
  • a wallet-sized card that connect consumers with IMHA and basic information about their rights
  • a workshop that supports consumers to learn and develop their self-advocacy skills.

Find our new tools at Your rights if you are on a compulsory treatment order.

Interactive web tool

We are developing a web application that will guide consumers through their own self-advocacy journey, helping them produce a print-out of a plan that they can use when talking to their treating team.

We are working with mental health staff to place these new resources in accessible locations at services around the state and alert consumers to these resources.

More information

If you want to learn more, talk to your advocate or call us on 1300 947 820 or email simon.katterl@imha.vic.gov.au.