CAG gives a crucial voice to the public

Sound Telegraph
RkPG Mental Health CAG founder and former chairwoman Ingrid Bentsen and current chairwoman Lisa Langlands.
Camera IconRkPG Mental Health CAG founder and former chairwoman Ingrid Bentsen and current chairwoman Lisa Langlands.

From humble beginnings, a local Consumer Advisory Group is now a powerful voice in the planning and delivery of mental health services in Rockingham and Peel.

This month the group is celebrating 20 years as the Rockingham Peel Group CAG.

Praised by mental health clients and families, the CAG was one of the first in WA and has led the way in consumer participation in mental health services.

Its achievements include advising on the design of the Mimidi Park Inpatient Unit and developing the peer support worker role.

Founder and former chairwoman Ingrid Bentsen said the group noticed a lack of information available to consumers and decided to take matters into their own hands.

She said while CAG had since become more formalised, its purpose and focus remained the same.

“Our role is to be the eyes, ears and most importantly the voice of consumers in the mental health system,” Ms Bentsen said.

“We do this by ensuring the consumer perspective is always represented in the planning and development of services.”

The RkPG Mental Health Service provides care for adults from Kwinana to Waroona at three community centres and an inpatient unit at Mimidi Park at Rockingham General Hospital.

Ms Bentsen said the relationship between the CAG, clinicians and executive was key to its success.

“The consumer voice is heard, and most importantly valued, at the highest level of decision making,” she said.

“After all, we are working towards the same goal; helping people in our community to recover and live with purpose and meaning.”

RkPG Mental Health Service co-director Anthony Collier said the CAG fostered strong links with community partners.

“The CAG have always, and will continue to be, at the foundation of our service delivery,” he said.

“We are immensely grateful for the guidance local people with lived experience of mental health issues have provided.”

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