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.
The Carers of Forensic and Correctional Patients Network is a series of monthly online meetings with family members and carers that have a loved one in the forensic and justice system.
MHCN holds these meetings in collaboration with Erika Ballance, Family & Carer Consultant, from the Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network. We have also recruited a Carer Peer Network Facilitator to help convene and facilitate meetings.
Carers and family members that have a loved one in the forensic and justice system face unique challenges when it comes to social and mental health issues and stigma. Carers have told us that sharing their experiences with other carers helps them to feel less alone. They have also told us that listening to other people’s experiences is also helpful, as it lets them know that they are not the only ones going through something that is both unique and difficult.
We believe that bringing this group of people with lived experience together will help build collective self-esteem.
The aim of the meeting is to provide support to carers and family members and to guide our advocacy. Anyone who has a person in the forensic and justice system can come to our online meeting.
This specialised Network of carers helps MHCN in its advocacy because by listening to carers, MHCN can better represent and involve carers in our systemic advocacy. Since our first meeting in June 2021, we have provided key feedback on the views of carers on several different policy and legislative issues, including our submission to the Law Reform Commission Open Justice Review. We have also consulted with carers on the Draft NSW Framework for Forensic Patients with a Cognitive Impairment and provided feedback by carers on the need for greater support and reliable information.
If you are interested in coming to a meeting, please email Prasheela Karan, Policy Officer – firstname.lastname@example.org