Building collaborative cultures of care

within NSW mental health services

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How the toolkit was developed

Development of this resource commenced in September 2018 with the establishment of an Expert Reference Group, bringing together people with lived experience of mental health issues, their families, carers and kinship groups, clinicians, peer workers and program managers.

Various professional organisations and committees were also represented.

Consultation and review

The process to develop the document included:

  • More than 50 interviews conducted across the mental health sector, including representation from:
    • Being
    • Mental Health Carers NSW
    • The Consumer Peer Workforce Committee
    • NSW Mental Health Commission
    • Clinical Excellence Commission
    • Health Education Training Institute
    • Official Victors Program
    • clinicians, managers and peer workers from NSW public mental health services from most LHDs and SHNs.
    • A NSW statewide forum (10 October 2018) with 110 attendees.
  • A review of relevant evidence, policy, frameworks and health care standards.
  • Review of the Lived Experience Framework for NSW arguing that mental health and social services ‘must embrace the participation, influence and leadership of people with lived experience of mental health issues and carers, families and kinship groups in service design, delivery, monitoring, reporting, research, evaluation and improvement activities’ to strengthen services and achieve better outcomes for all people in NSW.3
  • Review of the Official Visitors Program recommendation report detailing practical solutions and principles which can be used to strengthen consumer and family engagement.
  • Feedback across the mental health sector on the draft version of this document with over 180 comments received for incorporation.
  • Targeted interviews with clinical leaders.


The expertise and guidance that we received has been invaluable in enabling this toolkit to be produced.

We would like to thank everyone who contributed their ideas and insights, particularly the Expert Reference Group.

Expert Reference Group members


Role and organisation

Luke Butcher

Area Manager, Mission Australia

Tristan Chapman

Senior Lead for Clinical Innovation & Redesign, Mental Health, Nepean Blue Mountains LHD

Glen Charlesworth

Senior Policy Officer, Mental Health Branch

Irene Gallagher

Chief Executive Officer, Being

Donna Gillies

A/Director Research and Data Analytics, NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission

Sage Green

Senior Advisor, Mental Health Commission of NSW

Hannah Hanfy

Project Officer, Patient Experience and Consumer Engagement, Agency for Clinical Innovation

Jonathan Harms

Chief Executive Officer, Mental Health Carers NSW Inc (MHCN)

Victoria Hirst

A/Manager, Strategic Policy and System Reform, Mental Health Commission of NSW

Lam Huynh

Principal Policy Officer, Strategic Engagement, Mental Health Branch

Heidi Keevers

Chairperson NSW Consumer Peer Workforce Committee

Kerri Lawrence

Manager, Strategic Engagement & Innovation, Mental Health Commission of NSW

Carol Martin

Service Manager, Specialist Mental Health Services, ISLHD

Nick O’Connor

Co-chair, MH Network Executive

Chris Ryan

Director of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry at Sydney's Westmead Hospital

Kathleen Schelling

Mental Health Network Manager, Agency for Clinical Innovation

Peter Schmiedgen

Policy and Communications Manager, Being

Charmaine Turton

Project Manager, Clinical Standards & Quality, InforMH