MHCN Mental Health Carer Advocacy Network (MHCAN)
Embedding Lived Experience and Creating Carer Communities
MHCN’s Mental Health Carer Advocacy Network (MHCAN) is a purpose-driven and carer co-designed program, funded by the NSW Mental Health Commission. This project has been developed with mental health carers to promote and embed the lived experience of mental health carers, families, kinship groups, and communities in NSW mental health service design, delivery, and review.
Our aim is to help mental health carers support themselves and their loved ones, connect them with one another and the sector, and promote the importance of engaging lived experience to government and non-government organisations!
Do you work in mental health and/or health services in NSW and require a meeting with MHCN about engaging carers, partnerships, grants, co-design, and training? Please click here to fill out our Request form and we will be in touch within three business days.
What Is It?
The Mental Health Carer Advocacy Network connects mental health carers, families, kinship groups, and the sector through a centralised lived experience database and hub. MHCN uses that database to understand what carers are interested in and to use that information to engage carers in a range of consultations, training, workshops, co-design, and working groups to improve mental health services in NSW.
Having a clear database of carers who have specified their needs, interests, and advocacy preferences means that MHCN can assist sectors, professionals, and service providers in their engagement with mental health carers’ lived experience.
I have met some remarkable people through collaboration and co-design. Having a safe space to speak about our feelings reduces isolation and stigma. A carer network that focuses on building genuine connection will help make people with lived experience feel stronger together.MHCN Carer Consultations, September 2020.
I think that people with lived experience have absorbed a lot of what society has said – or not said – about us. We need to be supported by organisations to work together to reduce our collective self-esteem issues.MHCN Carer Consultations, October 2020.
Carers are highly motivated and are passionate about learning new things and skills to improve the lives of not just those they care for but also for everyone in the community. We can be great resources for our communities if we are supported and given the tools to do so!MHCN Carer Consultations, November 2020.
Our project goals have been co-designed with mental health carers and are:
- To empower mental health carers and people with lived experience to improve their skills and knowledge, and to advocate in their communities in ways that reflect their skills, time, interests, and capacity;
- To connect members with each other and with the sector in meaningful ways for research, raising awareness, support, and wellbeing;
- To embed lived experience in MHCN’s peak body research and advocacy;
- To promote better engagement with carers’ lived experience in NSW service design, review, and reform.
Who Can Join?
Joining the Mental Health Carer Advocacy Network is free and open to everyone, and with a special emphasis and relevance to the NSW mental health sector and the needs, views, and experiences of:
- Mental Health Carers, Families, Kinship Groups, and Communities – people who provide care and support, or have connections with someone who has lived experience of mental health issues and/or emotional distress.
- Peer Workers (Carer and Consumer)
- Interested Community Members – people who have an interest in building our community’s capacity for mental health, caring, and and safe, effective, and accessible mental health services for all.
- Mental Health Organisations, Government and Non-Government Organisations, Social Services, Health Professionals and Practitioners, Social Enterprises, Certified B Corporations, and Sole Traders – those interested in engaging carer lived experience in their work or who are interested in learning about how to better involve lived experience in service design, review, and reform.
- For Consumers (people with lived experience of mental health and/or emotional distress who are not also carers): you are welcome to join the Network and be updated on carer and mental health service topics. Please note that the NSW consumer peak body, Being, are also developing a Register with a special focus on consumer lived experience. For more information, head to the Being website.
What We Offer
By joining, you will receive:
- For Carers, Individuals, Families, and Community Members: Membership on our Register database and the option to choose what you want MHCN to contact you about and what opportunities and training you would like to be involved in, and a Welcome Pack including information about what the MHCAN does, current opportunities, and how to help MHCN conduct its peak body advocacy
- For Carers, Individuals, Families, and Community Members: Opportunities to apply for our special carer respite grants and funding. Paid and volunteer opportunities to provide feedback and consult with MHCN and across the sector.
- For all: Access to MHCN policy and advocacy activities and training, paid and volunteer-based advocacy opportunities, lived experience resources and stories, newsletter, and tips, and information on current sector and community developments and activities.
- For Service Providers, Government Organisations, Health Professionals, Social Services, Social Enterprises, Certified B Corps, and Sole Traders: Access to our specialist carer lived experience research by request, opportunities to request for carers and lived experience representatives, partner with MHCN on policy, training, and community projects, and be connected to carers and people with lived experience relevant to your work or project interests. You will also be able to provide information to MHCAN individual members on your work and upcoming opportunities for their feedback.
Are you ready to join MHCAN to help us engage and support lived experience to drive change in the NSW mental health system? Amazing! Please fill out the registration form by clicking here! (You will be taken to a survey form in a new window)
If you have any questions or comments, please email Alyce Cannon, Manager – email@example.com
We will be in touch with the MHCAN Welcome and Introduction Pack within seven business days of your registration – we cannot wait to work with you!