On this page
- What is the Consumer Representative Program?
- How can I become a Consumer Representative?
- What support is there for Consumer Representatives?
- Are you looking for a Consumer Representative?
What is the Consumer Representative Program?
The Consumer Representative Program (CRP) is the foundation activity of the Network in undertaking systemic advocacy. Systemic advocacy is the process of advocating for change in the systems that guide the delivery of mental health services in the ACT.
Consumer Representatives provide their expertise, developed through lived experience and specialised training, in a range of government and community settings to improve mental health services and programs throughout the ACT. It is the way people who have lived experience of mental illness can directly provide feedback and recommendations about how changes to services or policies can benefit or hinder consumers in their recovery journeys.
The CRP is a volunteer program; however, all participants receive reimbursements to cover their reasonable costs of participation.
Consumer Representatives do not provide individual advocacy or other individual supports. Instead, they advocate for broader changes to help everyone accessing services.
How can I become a Consumer Representative?
If you have lived experience of mental illness (what we call ‘a consumer’ for short), you too could participate in the Network’s CRP.
You can become a Consumer Representative by first being a member of the Network. If you are already a member of the Network, you can complete the Network’s Self-Advocacy and Consumer Representation training courses. These courses are free for consumers and are designed to support you to develop skills you need to effectively represent the consumer voice on committees and at events.
The Self-Advocacy course encourages the development of insight into the personal attributes needed to advocate for your human rights, individual needs, and quality mental health services in the ACT.
The Consumer Representation course builds on this understanding and provides information about mental health and advocacy in the ACT. This then becomes the foundation for consumers to develop their practice in mental health literacy and systemic advocacy.
If you have completed similar training at another organisation, you may also be eligible.
Our courses are fun and free! Courses are run throughout the year and places fill quickly!
If you’d like to further information about our training including how you can register, go to the Community Education page.
What happens after training?
After you’ve completed the Self-Advocacy and Consumer Representation training, you will be eligible to become a Consumer Representative and will receive recruitment bulletins with current vacancies.
What kind of support is available for a Consumer Representative?
As an integral part of the Network, Consumer Representatives (Reps) are supported in numerous ways.
Consumer Rep Forums are held every two months, where Consumer Reps can obtain support and information, as well as provide feedback and discuss issues with other Consumer Reps. At some of these Forums, a Masterclass is held which gives Consumer Reps an opportunity to refresh parts of their training or learn about new service/sector developments.
For new Consumer Reps, a mentor will be provided to guide them through their first few committee meetings and help them build confidence.
In addition to training, Consumer Reps are also supported through access to the Network coordinators for briefing and debriefing sessions, and administrative support.
Consumer Reps can access computers, phones and more at the Network. We kindly ask Consumer Reps to phone ahead on (02) 6230 5796 to make a time to come in. Due to the nature of the Network’s business, there is no guarantee there will be a staff member present to assist unless a prior arrangement has been made, so we don’t want people travelling all the way in for nothing!
Consumer Reps are reimbursed for their reasonable out-of-pocket expenses in accordance with Network and relevant external policy, such as ACT Health’s Reimbursement Policy and Procedures for Consumer Representatives.
Are you looking for a Consumer Representative?
If you are looking to engage a Consumer Rep for a committee or other opportunities please click here.