An intimate, yet highly engaged group of almost 30 people from government and community organisations, the mental health sector and support people and carers from across Tasmania gathered to help celebrate the completion and launch of a 70+page toolkit that will resource and empower support people to be their own best self-advocates.
MHFFTas CEO Glen O’Keefe opened the launch with a keynote address. In his address, Glen thanked his predecessor – the outgoing CEO Maxine Griffiths – for her vision to not only obtain the funding from the Australian Government, Department of Social Services but her overall dedication to mental health families and friends TASMANIA.
Maxine has been an integral advocate in Tasmania. In her role, she continuously highlighted the voices and experiences of mental health families and friends to ensure they were factored into policy and reform, service-delivery, and design, and within institutions, organisations, and services that mental health consumers access.
Glen also thanked the rest of the MHFFTas team and noted the staff’s excitement when they unboxed the toolkit for the first time. He thanked key stakeholders and organisations that provided feedback about the toolkit and the workshop program and extended a heart-warming thanks to the members of MHFFTas’ lived experience advisory group (M-LEAG) for their invaluable input that informed the entire project.
Glen then handed over to Glenorchy Mayor Bec Thomas. The mayor spoke to the toolkit’s impact. She shared her focus for it to be accessible and utilised for Tasmanians with low literacy levels, and the core need for ongoing dialogue around mental health, now and into the future, and how the MHFFTas self-advocacy program will extend to do this.
Next, participants heard from the self-advocacy project lead Flavia Young. Flavia informed participants about the digital toolkit version, that it was available in sectioned pdf format at the MHFFTas website ( complete with hyperlinks) before opening up the Q & A element of the launch.
In total, six members of the M-LEAG made up the Q & A live panel. They answered questions about co-designing the toolkit and workshops, their experiences of supporting their family member, why they got involved in the project, and the crucial knowledge they bring when interacting with mental health services and advocating on behalf of their family or friend.
Each member leaned into the session: they were authentic, raw, vulnerable, and honest. There were tears, there was laughter and, most importantly, there was empathy and compassion for themselves, each other, and all support people.
Please feel free to get in touch with our communications officer: Flavia Young if you would like more information about the program, have any questions or simply want to know more.
P: 0437 983 943