Independent Mental Health Advocacy

Have your say: consumer consultations underway

Wednesday 3 February 2016 1:17am

Have your say: consumer consultations underway

Consumer consultant Daniel Van der Pluym

It will be a priority for us over the next few month to hear directly from people who have experienced compulsory treatment about their information and advocacy needs.

Consumer consultant Daniel Van der Pluym has joined our team and will be facilitating a series of consultations. These will help us learn what sort of resources, and in what formats, people subject to compulsory treatment require.

Daniel is on secondment from the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness CouncilExternal Link and will be working with us for six months. He will be convening small groups of eight to ten people, where consumers can give us their views on what advocacy means to them, and tell us directly what they need.

‘Given the newness of the Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) service, this will be a great opportunity to capture information early. It will help build and shape the way IMHA works, from the ground up,’ Daniel says.

‘We will be able to capture feedback about information and resources that people need. It will be useful to hear how people take in information, especially if they are acutely unwell and hospitalised – at this point they may prefer face-to-face communication for example.

‘It also means we can develop information that is in plain English and responsive to individuals. Some people are already well-informed, others find this whole area a new language especially if they don’t identify as having a mental health issue.

‘IMHA’s information needs to be presented in a way that makes sense and is inclusive, and speaks to people about their own lives and experiences.’

Daniel is especially interested in getting the views of those who may find it difficult to know where to turn to for support, such as from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds or people who have other disabilities.

Daniel, who has a lived experience of mental health issues, says the voices of consumers in how services are designed and delivered is paramount. ‘Consumers need to have faith in what services do and be connected to them, and at the same time the service will benefit by being designed specifically to meet consumers’ needs.’

Get involved

If you are interested in taking part or learning more about the consultations, please contact Daniel on (03) 9093 3701 or email

Daniel works Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

More information

Consumer advisory group

Reviewed 22 July 2021

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