Independent Mental Health Advocacy

Meet Lucy Ledger, Senior Advocate, Dandenong

Friday 21 April 2017 2:38am

Meet Lucy Ledger, Senior Advocate, Dandenong

Senior Advocate Lucy Ledger

In her first four months working as a senior advocate in our Dandenong office, Lucy Ledger has already seen much to inspire her about the importance of IMHA's work.

'One thing that meant a lot was hearing from someone that the support of IMHA meant they did not feel so lonely in their experience of compulsory treatment,' Lucy says.

IMHA's approach to advocacy, according to Lucy, is 'standing in solidarity with a person and working with what they identify as an issue with their mental health treatment and recovery – not applying your own filter or judgement.

'While outcomes for consumers sometimes vary, many people tell us it's still extremely validating to have had their views listened to and respected by an advocate.'

Lucy has had extensive experience in human rights advocacy roles both here and overseas.

Originally an occupational therapist, her most recent role was as a senior technical advisor in disability inclusive development at a not-for-profit international development organisation. She was based in Melbourne, but regularly travelled to Timor-Leste.

Lucy says that despite her extensive experience in human rights advocacy including working with World Vision and UNICEF in Bangladesh, her current role with IMHA has been eye-opening in raising her awareness of the fact that people with psycho-social disabilities can be subject to restrictive practices such as seclusion.

Lucy noted that ‘many in the community don’t realise what is involved when people are detained for compulsory treatment’ and the restrictions placed on their rights, i.e. being unable to have leave. However, Lucy has also welcomed instances of receptiveness from mental health services to give effect to consumer’s treatment preferences.

Her aim is for IMHA advocacy to make a difference in fostering more inclusive, holistic and collaborative approaches to recovery that are driven by the consumer.

She is very encouraged by some of the outcomes that have so far been achieved. ‘Recently one of our advocates worked with a consumer who was mid-way through an approved round of ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) treatments but decided they wished to discontinue this treatment. The advocate worked collaboratively with the consumer and their psychiatrist to prompt for a new assessment of the consumer’s situation which resulted in ECT being ceased in line with the consumer’s preferences’.

This and other feedback from people supported by IMHA is being collected in an ‘advocacy wins’ wall in the Dandenong office.

‘There are some really lovely comments, and it is very heartening to hear feedback from consumers we have worked with that they feel our involvement has made a difference.’

Collection of post it notes where consumers have given feedback about IMHA

Reviewed 22 July 2021

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