We are seeking people with lived or carer experience of accessing adult community mental health services in MLHD, to be part of our implementation groups. These groups will be driving the actions in our new Adult Community Mental Health Model of Care, which aims to improve service delivery across MLHD.

Project Background

The Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol (MHDA) Service offers care and treatment to people of all ages.

We know that people experiencing mental health concerns need to have appropriate services available at various stages of their illness and/or recovery and to be able to have timely access to these services.

We identified that there was a need for a review of the local specialist adult community mental health model of care, with the aim of improving services. In 2016, we began a process of reviewing service delivery and creating a plan to improve services into the future.

Supported by the Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI), the first stage of the project included an evidence check of recovery-oriented community mental health models.

Using the results of this research, the project team worked together with local people with lived experience, their carers and clinicians to co-design a framework to guide service delivery. The “Reimagining specialist adult community mental health: A framework for supporting recovery in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District” report was finalised in 2018 and set out the principles for providing good quality care.

Using this framework as a guide, a Model of Care (MOC) was created with the aim to improve the experience and outcomes for people living in the Murrumbidgee with experience of Mental Health concerns, their carers and the staff who work with them.

The Model of Care uses the principles, themes and strategies identified in the framework to set out a pathway for quality care in adult community mental health services.

The next stage of the process will be to implement the Model of Care across MLHD specialist adult community mental health services.

Implementation will involve staff from a range of roles and disciplines, as well as people with lived experience and carers, to action the changes outlined in the MOC.

What does a Model of Care do?

The Model of Care (MOC) is designed to guide the practice of staff working in specialist adult community mental health services in MLHD. It sets out what we in MLHD believe to be good quality adult mental health care, and what people accessing our service should expect from their care journey with us.

The MOC can also be used by people with a lived experience of mental health concerns, their carers and support people, to assist in collaborative design and implementation of future service improvements.

The Specialist Adult Mental Health service adopts ‘ways of working’ that are based on the three principles that support an individual on a recovery pathway.

They recognise the creative nature of people including the ability to overcome hardship, pain and despair as well as emphasising the personal worth of the individual and the importance of value.

The three principles are:

Recovery Orientated

Care that is led by the person with a lived experience of mental health concerns. It emphasises hope and encourages the person on their path to recovery.

Person Centred

Care that enables people to make their own choices in life and in care, recognises the diversity and depth of individual experience, and supports people to achieve the goals that they identify.

Working in Partnership

Providing care which acknowledges the life and experiences of the person with a lived experience of mental health concerns and works together to support that person’s goals.

There were five key themes identified during the co-design process which brought together the ideas of people with lived experience, carers and clinicians to guide service improvement.

The themes act as a guide for implementation and the actions that are needed to improve service delivery.

The Key Themes are supported by strategies which will help make the principles and themes a reality in practice.

What happens now

Now that the Model of Care has been finalised, the next step is to put the themes and strategies into practice so that our Adult Mental Health services are working in line with the principles of care set out in the plan.

We have formed a Steering Group to oversee this process, and five sub-groups who will work directly on actioning the Key Themes in the plan.

The sub-groups are made up of staff from different Community Mental Health teams and at various levels of the organisation.

In line with the principle of Working in Partnership and to continue the co-design approach that has led to the development of the Model of Care, we want to make sure that the lived experience and carer perspective is also heard in our sub-groups. We also believe that people with lived experience, and carers, will have unique and valuable insights to bring into how care can be improved and meet the needs of people accessing our services.

We are inviting people with experience of accessing Community Mental Health services in MLHD, to be part of these sub-groups and help put the Model of Care into practice to improve services into the future.

How to get involved

If you think you might like to join a sub-group, please complete the Expression of Interest registration below and we will be in touch with you after the closing date to discuss your interest.

We are looking for people who:

  • Have experience of accessing a MLHD Community Mental Health service in the last five years (either themselves, or as a carer for another person);
  • Can commit (within reason) to attending meetings (online/by phone) of their sub-group once per month, during usual business hours, for the duration of the project (expected to be around 2 years);
  • Are willing to sign a participation and confidentiality agreement, and provide photo identification (standard process for anyone taking on a committee or ongoing project role with us).

We are hoping to have 1-2 lived experience and/or carer representatives on each sub-group. Representatives will be equal and valued members of the group and will receive support from the Project Lead and the MHDA Coordinator Consumer Participation Strategy, as needed.

Lived Experience and Carer representatives will be paid for their time spent participating in sub-group meetings, in line with the MLHD MHDA Consumer and Carer Participation Remuneration Guidelines.

If you have any questions, or would like to express your interest via phone or email, please contact us on mlhd-mhda-experiences@health.nsw.gov.au

Expressions of interest will be open until Monday 9th May, 2022.