To communicate a little more about who we are, what we do, and how we collaborate with organisations on cultural diversity, equity and inclusion within the mental health landscape, we recently created five short videos about our work.
You can watch the videos by clicking the link above, the boxes below or HERE.
The videos feature independent consultants, advocates and representatives from some of the organisations we’ve worked with – including Goulburn Valley Health, Latrobe University, Micare, the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria, Alfred Mental and Addiction Health, Orygen, and the Centre for Mental Health Learning.
They aim to show how cultural diversity, cultural responsiveness, cultural safety and inclusivity, intersectionality and lived experience are at the forefront of all the work we do and – through our partners’ voices – how VTMH works to collaborate, support, equip and advocate for them and those they support.
As part of the public mental health service system, VTMH works with government, service providers, networks, peak bodies and communities. Our commitment is to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion values – the notion that no one is left behind – are embedded in how mental healthcare is provided right across Victoria.
Our collaborations are designed to respond to the particular issues that matter to our partners. And because they are built on responsiveness to an organisation’s particular needs, we believe there’s no better way to communicate this than through the perspectives and reflections of some of those partners. We are so grateful for their collaboration.
VTMH’s work is built on trusting, honest partnerships in which we truly value the creative power that comes with working together. We believe these videos are testament to that and hope you do too.
The Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System has concluded and delivered a comprehensive final report to parliament in February 2021.
How VTMH got involved
The Commission commenced in 2019 and VTMH engaged with the work of the Commission in several ways.
In February 2019, the Victorian community was asked to help set the Commission’s terms of reference. Read our submission in full here.
We joined calls to make community consultations more inclusive and ensure Commission information is available in community languages
The VTMH Manager appeared as an expert witness. As part of a week-long focus on LGBTIQ+ and culturally and linguistically diverse communities, Adriana Mendoza appeared at a public hearing in May 2019. Read her expert witness statement here.
The VTMH team spoke with policy officers about culturally responsive service design and empowering communities
We facilitated a roundtable event with the Commission. Chair of the Royal Commission Penny Armytage, Commissioner Dr Alex Cockram, Commission directors, and principal policy officers met with members of the VTMH team and VTMH Reference Group. The discussion considered three themes: community, consumers and carer perspectives, workforce development, as well as governance, data and research. The issues are summarised here.
The road to reform
VTMH welcomes the detailed recommendations: the renewed focus on the lived experience of people who used mental health services, their families, carers and supporters and commitments to co-design; prioritising workforce development; a new mental health and wellbeing act; and resourcing a redesigned service system that is inclusive of care, treatment and psychosocial support.
We also welcome the proposed Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing and other opportunities to bring people together – lived experience voices, researchers, practitioners and communities. Collaboration, underpinned by commitments to equity and social justice, will enable the optimal development of mental health services, and deliver the best possible outcomes for all people living with mental and wellbeing concerns.
Intersectionality is one of the key frameworks that informs VTMH’s work.
We explain this in our guiding principles documents. It underpins our companion LGBTIQIntersect website. It also helps us understand inequality in the context of COVID-19.
An intersectional approach
Involves acknowledging, responding to, reflecting on, and designing services with the following understandings in mind:
Life is multi-dimensional and complex and we expect many stories.
People cannot be explained by single categories, such as gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, ability.
Identity emerges from interactions between environment, social dynamics and cultural and political contexts.
To understand people’s experiences, we must also understand structures and systems, inclusive of institutional level factors.
Individuals and communities can experience privilege and oppression simultaneously.
Structural inequity increases exclusion and leads to experiences of marginalisation.
Relationships involve power dynamics; institutional accountability involves recognising and negotiating relations of power.
Critical reflection increases awareness, about ourselves, our position in relation to others, our professional roles and our organisations.
What are the implications?
Sense of self and a sense of community are interconnected experiences.
Single category identity markers can create limitations for individuals and communities. An intersectional lens can help us deepen our understanding of identity, lived experience and mental health.
People who have may identities associated with reduced social power can experience multiple and unique forms of discrimination that cannot be conceptualised separately. We can look beyond individual social locations or identities, to focus on the points of intersection.
Creating a mental health system that is responsive to the needs and experiences of all members of the Victorian community, requires us to examine structures and systems and institutional level factors that promote health access and health equity.
We are finding ways to apply an intersectional lens to mental health practice in the midst of system level mental health reform in Victoria.
Want to deepen your knowledge?
Here are some helpful resources to explore:
Hankivsky, O. (2014). Intersectionality 101. Canada: The Institute for Intersectionality Research & Policy.
We continue to work to provide accurate, up-to-date information to help you assist people experiencing mental health issues. You might be working or have an interest in, for example, the public health, human service, education, or community sectors. However when you come to us, we want to make it easy to access resources that help you support the mental health of diverse people, communities and systems.
Through our new website, we invite you to learn more about VTMH services, find specific information you may be looking for, and connect with us for collaboration.
Collaborating, supporting, equipping and advocating — to help you help others.
We hope the new VTMH website gives you improved access to our purpose, how we work, our guiding principles, stories of those we’ve collaborated with – including how we’ve designed theories and practices to co-produce resources, build capacity and translate knowledge – as well as information about our team, news, seminars, webinars and forums you can register to attend, and downloadable and interactive online learning resources. You can also sign up for our newsletters and campaigns.
It also includes more information on our strategic objectives to collaborate, support, equip and advocate, as well as our values of acknowledging responsibility, holding multiple perspectives, advocacy and equity, respect and humility, life-long learning, and collective action.
We look forward to welcoming you to our new website, and to continuing to support you in your important work.
View the launch video below.
Find below information about some of our key campaigns.