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 carers, families, kinship groups, and communities of people with mental illness in NSW mental health service design, delivery, and review.
Our aim is to support mental health carers to help themselves and their loved one, connect them with one another and the sector, and promote the importance of engaging lived experience to government and non-government organisations!
What Is It?
The Mental Health Carer Advocacy Network provides mental health carers, families, kinship groups, and the sector by building a centralised lived experience hub to connect with one another, provide feedback, and participate in a range of training, workshops, and co-design activities to improve mental health services in NSW. It will also allow MHCN to assist sectors, professionals, and service providers in their engagement with mental health carers’ lived experience in their work.
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, interests, and capacity;
- To connect mental health carers and people with lived experience with one another in meaningful ways for support and wellbeing;
- To embed lived experience in MHCN’s peak body research and service sector advocacy;
- To promote better engagement with carers’ lived experience in service design, review, and reform across the NSW government and non-government sectors.
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 illness and/or mental health issues.
- Consumers – people with lived experience of mental illness and/or mental health issues
- 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.
What We Offer
By joining, you will receive:
- For Carers, Individuals, Families, and Community Members: Membership on our Register database and a welcome pack including resources to support you, work with and learn with other people with diverse lived experience, and prioritise your wellbeing along the way.
- For Carers, Individuals, Families, and Community Members: Paid opportunities to provide feedback and consult with MHCN through surveys, activities, and co-design workshops to help us ensure that our carer engagement, training, policies, and advocacy are up-to-date and best reflect the diversity of carer experiences.
- For all: Membership to our Register database and early access to Network Register policy and advocacy activities and training, paid and volunteer-based advocacy opportunities, lived experience resources and tips, and information on current sector developments and activities.
- For all: A newsletter with up-to-date resources, lived experience stories, and current advocacy and social events to connect with people and the sector; as well as regular updates when you want them.
- For all: Access to and opportunities to share and diverse lived experience evidence through our newsletter, interviews and consultations, and storytelling through blogs, short stories, texts, videos, and creative forms of expression.
- 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 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 through the Network Register on your work, advertise activities to obtain carer feedback and consultations, and any opportunities you are running for carers to participate in training, activities, and/or respite.
Are you ready to join MHCAN to help us engage and support lived experience to help drive systemic changes to 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, Project Manager – email@example.com
We will be in touch with more MHCAN information within five business days of your registration – we cannot wait to work with you!