Lessons from lived experience provide opportunities for health sector

August 10, 2020

The third Mental Health Sector Forum, held on 28 July 2020 and co-hosted by the VHA, Mental Health Victoria and Deloitte, provided an opportunity for the sector to hear from people with lived experience.

Consumers and carers acted as co-facilitators, providing real-time feedback on ideas from health services and sharing their perspectives to help develop new programs and initiatives.

The event also provided an opportunity to hear from consumer and carer peak bodies Tandem and VMIAC, with VMIAC sharing a video about the future where lived experience is truly embedded.

You can read the full summary of the session here from Croakey.

Key lessons from the lived experience discussion included:

  • Greater value needs to be placed on the expertise and experience of people with lived experience, particularly understanding what individuals ‘bring to the table’.
  • Embedding lived experience into co-design and co-production from the start not only benefits consumers, it also delivers a cost benefit for the organisation.
  • Managers should be trained to better understand the skills people with lived experience bring to the organisation.
  • The sector needs a consistent approach to recognition, respect and support of lived experience positions.
  • Avoid tokenism:
    • Don’t include only one person with lived experience in co-design because experiences vary from person to person.
    • Don’t ask someone just to look at a final draft of the report.
  • Organisations should look at people with lived experience already employed in part-time or voluntary roles and consider how they can transition into paid leadership roles. Additional supports must be considered.
  • Transparency and authentic engagement need to be part of a reality check at the start to manage future expectations. People need to understand the parameters.
    • State what the constraints are and what is achievable.
  • It is critical to understand that consumers and carers are intertwined and many carers also have mental health challenges, so you can be a carer and a consumer.
  • Involve multiple consumers and carers, don’t have them working alone; one consumer representative can’t support all the change that’s needed.

Members can access the full summary of insights here.