In a bid to further improve and advise mental health services in the South West, two groups are seeking new members and visiting rural areas to provide information and support.
The South West Carers and Consumers Advisory Groups for Mental Health (CAG’s) aim to work together to improve services by gathering concerns that both carers and consumers have had when dealing with mental health services.
Carers Advisory Group chair Maria Radosavljevic said more members would mean more variety of experience.
“Through the experiences that some of us have had we can see that there needs to be some changes in the systems,” she said. “
“It’s basically trying to help to better the system for everybody concerned and that’s not just for the carers but for the consumers as well.
“We want to see the system changed for the better and for it to be an easier journey – it’s been very exciting and encouraging to see changes that have been made so far.
“People have had good and bad experiences, so for us it’s about trying to get some happy medium and it’s gratifying to see that we are helping people.”
Carer Advisory Group member Karen Williams said she had found it empowering being part of the group after an 18-year-long history as a carer.
“These CAG’s have a powerful voice and we’ve seen a positive improvement especially in communication,” she said.
“We are not a support service for carers but they can come to us and tell us their story, what’s working for them and what’s not and what they would like to see changed.”
Consumer Advisory group chair Katrina Williams said being part of the group was a great way to make a positive change.
“As consumers, when you’re feeling unwell you might not feel like you have a say – your voice is valuable and you’ll be supported all the way,” she said.
The groups will be visiting Collie and Harvey on February 22 to give presentations on who they are and what they do and encourage anyone who is interested in becoming a member or wanting to start their own group to come along.
For more information visit southwestcag.org.