On 1 August 2019, we sponsored a #CroakeyGO to help inform our Regional Mental Health Plan.
What is a #CroakeyGO?
An innovation in public interest journalism developed by the team at public health organisation Croakey.
It is walking journalism – where the Croakey team brings people together to walk and talk in a particular place about health-related matters, and to collaboratively produce social media and other editorial content.
Our #CroakeyGO focused on the mental health system. Our hashtag #NavigatingHealth trended nationally, with 1661 tweets receiving 13.35 million impressions.
Around 100 people came together to follow in the footsteps of a patient journey through the mental health system in Fitzroy and Carlton.
The crowd was diverse and included people with lived experience, carers, clinicians, health professionals, service providers, journalists, policy makers, politicians and mental health advocates.
Hundreds more people followed and commented online.
Put simply: to listen.
So we could look at the mental health system from as many perspectives as possible. Some are confronting, some present challenges, all inspire us to do better.
We sponsored the event but had no control over editorial content or what was said on the day.
The stops reflected some of the touch points at which people interact with the mental health system. They were:
- The Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS)
- St Vincent's Hospital
- drummond street services
- Carlton Family Medical
At each stop we heard from guest speakers before breaking off into groups to share our unique perspectives on the mental health system.
We're carefully compiling all the feedback we received and will use it to help inform our Regional Plan for mental health, suicide prevention and alcohol and other drugs.
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What did people say?
"Poverty and health and mental health conditions are intimately linked. They can reinforce and exacerbate and cause each other. You can't really talk about one without talking about the other – the solutions need to cross over that divide as well."
– Ryan Sheales, Victorian Council of Social Service
"It is brilliant to see all those professionals in the same spot. And it is fantastic to hear about a lot of services that I have never heard of."
– Amuna Abella, drummond street services
"I’ve found it a wonderful experience. I have to fess up I was a little doubtful. However, I’ve met people I haven’t met in the past and very unlikely to have met them in the future, I suspect, but really valuable people to meet."
– Ian Ferretter, Gambler's Help West
"The growing concerns about access to mental health services, both inner city but also in those new outer suburban areas, is of concern to me."
– Fiona Patten, MLC for Northern Metropolitan Region
"How do we shift the mindset with our people to utilise the local primary health care provider?"
– Lionel Austin, Victorian Aboriginal Health Service and a Gunditjmara man
"I was excited about today so I would have been shattered if it wasn’t as good as it has been. It’s been amazing – this is an amazing opportunity to learn but also to connect ”
– Ayesha Maharaj, La Trobe University
"Our data shows that a lot of families are really reticient to talk about mental health issues. A lot of families don’t think necessarily about using the language of mental health but they’ll talk about poverty, talk about not being able to put food on the table."
– Karen Field, drummond street services
"For me, the pathologisation of trans people is a really big issue, as well the controlling nature that the mental health sector has around trans people’s ability to make decisions about their own body and presentation."
– Ari Dunphy, queerspace/drummond street services
"There needs to be a no wrong door approach. We need to be able to refer somewhere with confidence to know, yes, they will accept it."
– A/Prof Ralph Audehm, GP at Carlton Family Medical
"I love the idea of being physical while we talk, rather than sitting around a desk.”
– Lara Kaput, SaySorry.org
"I feel a lot of mental health clinicians need a bit more understanding around complex PTSD…some don’t understand the impact on survivors of institutional child sex abuse. They (survivors) feel judged by the mental health system.”
– Vicki Khouri, drummond street services