The Mental Health Association of Central Australia has offered psychosocial support services and health promotion programs aimed at enhancing the mental health and wellbeing of people living in Central Australia for 30 years.
Established in 1992, MHACA is a leading Northern Territory community based, nonprofit organisation.
A key strength of MHACA is the contribution made by participants, communities, and others with a lived experience of mental illness and distressing life episodes. Their knowledge and understanding underpins and continually improves our service delivery and mental health promotion work.
Through a diverse range of programs we strive to make a difference in the lives of people with a mental illness by supporting participant driven mental health recovery, and to assist communities and organisations to actively improve mental health and well-being.
The knowledge and understanding of people with a lived experience of mental illness and distressing life episodes underpins and continually improves MHACA’s service delivery.
Involving people with lived experience helps build understanding, reduces stigma, and supports the design of programs that are relevant to the people who are accessing them.
MHACA offers many ways participants can contribute to
- dedicated board positions
- working groups including MHACA’s Little Enviro Group
- collaborative projects such as the annual Your Experience of Service (YES) Survey
- group program planning days
- training opportunities for participants
- regular staff and participant meetings
- input to policy positions and submissions.
Recovery is a fundamental principle underpinning all of MHACA’s programs and services.
Patricia Deegan reflecting on her own recovery states:
“…recovery does not mean cure. Rather recovery is an attitude, a stance, and a way of approaching the day’s challenges. It is not a perfectly linear journey. There are times of rapid gains and disappointing relapses. There are times of just living, just staying quiet, resting and regrouping. Each person’s journey of recovery is unique.”
in Recovery, A journey of the Heart 1996, in Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, Vol 19, No 3