The NSW Consumer Advisory Group – Mental Health Inc. (NSWCAG) is the statewide, non-government peak body that represents people who use mental health services (mental health consumers) to all levels of the NSW Government. In this way NSWCAG acts as a bridge between mental health consumers and the government.
An essential part of our role is to encourage mental health consumers to provide input into decision making at all levels concerning the way mental health services are provided.
We gather information and lobby the decision makers about issues relevant to the mental health system. We seek to influence legislation and policy introduced by the government where it affects the lives of mental health consumers. NSWCAG also keeps people informed of what is happening in the state through our Network.
NSWCAG does not offer individual advice. Our role is to advise the State Government; we influence the decisions which will impact on your experience of using mental health services.
We gather information through our interactive website, committees, consumer groups, forums and research about consumers’ experiences of mental health services, the improvements they would like to see and what they expect from government. This helps produce the evidence we need to lobby for changes to legislation and policy.
Who is a mental health consumer?
A person who has the experience of using mental health services. NSWCAG also hears from people who do not have this experience, but who have the experience of mental illness.
Who is NSWCAG funded by?
NSWCAG is funded by the Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Office, NSW Department of Health.
Our vision is for all people with a lived experience of mental illness to participate as valued citizens in the communities they choose.
Our purpose is to ensure that mental health consumer views are heard by policy makers, service providers and the community, through promoting consumer participation in relevant policy making and service development decisions.
NSWCAG’s Values and Principles
The work of NSWCAG is guided by our values and principles.
Our 6 Values
Our guiding principles
Being person centred and empowering consumers in the interests of consumers
Adopting a recovery approach to building positive futures
Promoting positive images and reducing stigma and discrimination
Enhancing best practice and building understanding of effective approaches to consumer participation
Capacity building of our organisation, consumers and services
Promoting professionalism and continuous improvement in our ways of working
What we do (our Activities)
Seek Consumer Views
- consultation forums
Advise & Influence
- submission writing
- consumer & representation
- feedback to government about mental health services
Communicate & Disseminate Information
- e–news, newsletter
Research & Gather Evidence about:
- consumer needs
- best practice mental health consumer participation
- quality mental health services
- facilitate consumer participation & representation
- provide training & education
- promote responsiveness of services to consumer needs
NSWCAG is grateful for the support of our patron, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC,CVO, Governor of New South, who shares our vision of fair access to quality services which reflect the needs of mental consumers.
NSWCAG produces a fortnightly E-News and triannual newsletter. To receive these, join Network NSW. If you wish to advertise in either of these newsletters or on NSWCAG’s website, please contact the office on 02 9136 5130 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are seeking to advertise to recruit participants for research you will need to complete a form which can be accessed click here. The policy regarding such requests should be read along with our policy regarding general advertising.
NSWCAG’s policy regarding advertising.
Being involved in NSWCAG
NSWCAG offers membership to individuals who are residents of NSW. Members of NSWCAG receive the same information as those on Network NSW, but also have the right to:
- Attend the Annual General Meeting
- Attend Special General Meetings
After 6 months of membership, members are also entitled to:
- Vote in new Trustees to the NSWCAG Board
- Vote at Annual General Meetings and Special General Meetings
- Nominate as a Trustee of NSWCAG when positions become available
Membership is free, subject to approval by the NSWCAG Board. For more information go to Work with us.
Being involved in influencing the system
NSWCAG wants to hear YOUR view, as you have a valuable opinion. Tell us your views; participate in one of our forums, consultations or events. Together we can influence the system.