What is the ACT Mental Health Consumer Network?

The ACT Mental Health Consumer Network is a peak organisation that is run by consumers for consumers.

A ‘çonsumer’ is defined in our Constitution as a person who “identifies as having lived experience of mental illness or psychiatric disorder, or has personally used a mental health service for their own mental health needs”.

The Network is funded by ACT Health to be the peak systemic advocacy body for mental health consumers in the ACT. It is one way in which consumers can directly feed back their recommendations about how to improve the mental health system in the ACT.

What is 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.

Our organisation is extremely committed to the rights of mental health consumers. We promote a respectful and accepting system that involves Consumers, Carers and Professionals listening and respecting one another in an active healthy relationship. We also promote the development of support structures for all these groups.

The Network does not provide

  • Individual advocacy;
  • Mental health treatment and care; or
  • Counselling services for mental health consumers.

If you need individual advocacy, please contact the following providers:

  • ACT Disability, Aged and Carer Advocacy Service (ADACAS) on 02 6242 5060
  • Advocacy for Inclusion on 02 6257 4005; and/or
  • Carers ACT on 02 6296 9900

If you need mental health treatment and care, please contact one of the following teams, as appropriate for your situation:

  • Access Mental Health and the Home Assessment and Acute Response Team (HAART) on 1800 629 354 (free call except from mobiles) or 02 6205 1065;
  • Central Health Intake (Community Mental Health Teams) on 02 5124 9977 if this is your first time making contact, or for existing clients, whichever is your treating team from the list below:
    • Belconnen Mental Health Team on 02 5124 4294;
    • City Mental Health Team on 02 124 1795;
    • Tuggeranong Mental Health Team on 02 5124 1300;
    • Woden Mental Health Team on 02 514 1269; and/or
    • Gungahlin Mental Health Team on 02 5124 4294

Our Aims as an Organisation are:

  • Accurately representing the interests of mental health consumers to service providers, community and government at all levels;
  • Facilitating meaningful communication between mental health service providers, carers and consumers;
  • Increasing mental health literacy amongst consumers and service providers through participation and education;
  • Giving a voice to ACT mental health consumers through consumer representation, lobbying and education; and
  • Supporting the empowerment of consumers by valuing their experiences of the mental health system in the ACT.

What Do We Do?

The Network is a systemic advocacy organisation that works to improve mental health services and programs so that they work for all people when they need them.  The main way we achieve this is through training and supporting consumers to become Consumer Representatives who bring the broader consumer voice to government and the community to achieve change through:

  • Participating on government and non-government committees;
  • Participating in and assisting with research programs;
  • Lobbying government and mental health service providers where inadequacies or improvements are identified; and
  • Facilitating education programs for consumers and the broader community.

Through our representation of consumers we are working to:

  • Advance consumers’ dignity, knowledge and respect;
  • Proactively together to ensure provision of appropriate and timely support, assistance and treatment to mental health consumers; and
  • Toward meaningful inclusion and quality of life for consumers in our society.

The Network does not operate as a clinical or crisis support service, for example counselling, suicide intervention and so on, and can only provide general advice and referral to appropriate services.

If you are in crisis or require immediate support for you mental health, please call:

  • Lifeline on 13 11 14;
  • Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636; and/or
  • Access Mental Health/HAART on 1800 629 354 or 02 6205 1065.

For all other emergencies call 000 and request Police, Fire or Ambulance as appropriate to your situation.