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VTMH September Seminar 2022

Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA): working in partnership with consumers towards a recovery and rights based mental health system


Wednesday, 21 September 2022


Online via Zoom
— details to be sent to registrants in advance


3.00pm - 4.00pm



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Helen Makregiorgos, Civil Justice Program, Victoria Legal Aid

Simona, Lived Experience Expert, Victoria Legal Aid



IMHA is a free state-wide non legal advocacy service for people at risk of or subject to compulsory treatment in Victoria. The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System recommended that non legal advocacy services should be available to all consumers who want it and hence the need for a opt out system.

IMHA has been working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities for the past 7 years and identified that these communities are often not able to access culturally safe mental health services. The Royal Commission recommendation will provide opportunity for people from these communities to access non legal advocacy services that can support them to understand and enact their rights, including their rights to mental health services that are culturally safe and responsive.

About the speakers

Helen currently manages non legal advocacy services at Victoria Legal Aid including IMHA. Helen established and currently manages IMHA and IFAS. Helen is a social worker who has worked in a range of sectors including homelessness, health, women’s health, sexual assault, family violence and mental health. Helen is passionate about social justice, human rights, culturally safe practices, and codesign and coproduction. Helen has completed a Masters in research with a focus on maternal mental health and referral pathways. She has also published work in the areas of non-legal advocacy in mental health and maternal mental health and family violence.

Simona is passionate about consumer-focused and trauma-informed health care. She is a member of the Independent Mental Health Advocacy’s Speaking from Experience group. Her advocacy journey commenced in 2010 at the Consumer Leadership Conference run by Our Consumer Place. Between 2011-2012 she was a Consumer and Carer Advisory Group member at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. Simona has been a peer support worker, holds a Bachelor of Psychological Science, and has volunteered in a range of community settings for over two decades. She enjoys hiking, playing guitar and writing poetry.


VTMH seminars are open to individuals, from all disciplines and working in all sectors, who are based in Australia and interested in diversity and mental health.  

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