August 2023

Welcome to the August edition of our MHFFTas CEO Communique.

We have found ourselves at the end of another Tasmanian winter and the recent slight increase in the warmth of the sun is a welcomed reminder that spring is a beautiful season in our lovely state.

Lived Experience Framework Project

MHFFTas has partnered with Flourish (project lead) and Health Consumers Tas on a Primary Health Tasmania (PHT) funded project to develop a Lived Experience Framework across all of Health in Tasmania.

The framework is designed for use by organisations such as Primary Health Tasmania; peak bodies/funding organisations; and health and social care organisations across the Tasmanian primary care sector. It is also designed to be consistent with lived/living experience approaches implemented by the Tasmanian Department of Health.

The document has three main purposes:

  1. To increase understanding of structured engagement with lived expertise.
  2. To provide a consistent set of principles and enactors to inform engagement with lived expertise in Tasmania.
  3. To be a tool for organisations to establish a lived/living experience engagement framework and/or assess their current lived/living experience engagement practices.

The first draft of the framework has been completed and is expected to be launched in September.

Recent Conference Attendance

We have recently attended two conferences that have been relevant to us and the work we undertake.

The first was The Mental Health Services Conference in Adelaide which saw service providers, consumers, and families and friends attend from across Australia and New Zealand.

The second was the TasCOSS conference in Hobart.

Both conferences highlighted the importance of lived experience participation and just as important, the ways to engage and support lived experience participation. What these conferences have shown is that MHFFTas is applying best practice for engaging with lived experience and we have a lot to offer others who are early in their engagement with lived experience participation. We will be making ourselves available to other organisations to assist where we can in this area.

National Peak Bodies – Update

Mental Health Carers Australia, of which MHFFTas is a member, continues to work closely with the federal Department of Health on the establishment of the two National Peak Bodies.

The Department of Health has moved forward recently in progressing the two peaks. A co-design process will take place for two new independent mental health lived experience peaks. The co-design process will involve sector experts and people with lived and living experience of mental ill-health, including families, carers, and kin.

The Department has engaged The Australian Centre for Social Innovation to organise the co-design process and has recently completed an expression of interest for participation in this co-design

UTAS Student Placement – Family and Friend Charter

MHFF has hosted an UTAS final-year social work student (Madi) over recent months. Madi’s project has been to establish a Family and Friend-Lived Experience Charter.

The Charter will provide guidance and a reminder for organisations about the experiences, needs, and rights of families and friends, and also about the language to use, the best practices for engaging, co-designing with, and involving families and friends who support and care for loved ones with mental ill health and/or AOD use.

This charter will be launched in September and will be available on our website and we thank Madi for her time with us and for undertaking this important work on her placement.

Family and Friend Representative Program

The recent months have seen our team and family and friend representatives very busy, and this is where I would like to start the CEO update. I feel it important to highlight an achievement that has been achieved over the past twelve months with our Family and Friend Representative Program.

MHFF received 105 requests for family and friend representation in the 2022/23 year, up from 90 in the previous year. The real highlight is that we met 100% of these requests, up from 94% in the previous year.

This achievement is testimony to the incredible skill and dedication of our family and friend representatives and to the incredible support and facilitation from our team. Thank you to everyone for helping achieve this amazing result.

New Website

We have received continued great feedback since launching our new website in June. We are very pleased that the new website has been so well received and has been found to be useful for those using it.

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