Recovery, in the context of mental health issues, is often convoluted, non-linear, and contextual to the life of an individual. In mental health and alcohol and other drug (AOD) experiences, recovery is an individual and personal process, defined by the individual themselves, which differs from other health areas where clinical recovery is more easily identifiable and partnerships between health professionals and consumers and carers is more closely aligned.
The Commission’s Consumer, Family, Carer and Community Paid Participation Policy affirms our commitment to working with consumers, families and carers and enables remuneration to be offered for participation in Commission activities.
The decision making capacity of mental health consumers is often questioned and legislation allows for people to be detained and treated against their will, along with breaches of their human rights. As a result of perseverance over many years, many people have risen against stigma and discrimination to be heard and respected for their abilities to contribute to improving services, systems, structures and policies.
As the involvement of consumers, families and carers has increased over the years, there has also been a distinct increase in the variety of levels of expectations of the skills, roles and responsibilities of undertaking engagement activities. These activities are providing a specific service that may not readily available within an organisation.
Higher roles and responsibilities carry extra requirements of training, knowledge, resourcing and skills which need to be fairly compensated for. No person should be expected to be out of pocket for their contributions and respecting these levels of work and contributions by having an equitable payment approach demonstrates the value and respect for contributions. Remuneration which is fair also provides motivation for consumers, families and carers to provide high quality and consistent engagement.