BEING – Mental Health Consumers is the independent, state-wide, peak organisation representing the views, perspectives and experiences of people who live with mental health issues in NSW.
Our primary focus is to ensure the voices of people living with mental health issues are heard by decision makers, service providers, and the community, and recognised for the valuable expertise they bring to system and service reform.
The lived experience of people is fundamental to all that BEING – Mental Health Consumers does. Our work is underpinned by a commitment to upholding international human rights and the belief that recovery is possible for all people who live with mental health issues and emotional distress.
Our vision is for all people who live with mental health issues to engage as valued members in the communities they choose without stigma or discrimination.
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 through our 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 the decision makers for changes to legislation and policy.
With a long-standing history of 26 years of operation, BEING – Mental Health Consumers is expanding and growing a service provision portfolio, to support people dealing with the day-to-day impacts of mental health issues, as well as support the expansion and growth of the lived experience workforce.
A key innovation has been the establishment of the BEING Supported – Mental Health Peer Support Line, a non-crisis, peer-run warm line service for people in NSW who are feeling isolated, alone, anxious, or just in need of someone to talk to.
Upcoming projects include the BEING Leadership Academy, which will provide training and mentoring to people who live with mental health issues to learn and grow their skills.
Another new initiative is piloting the Suicide Support and Awareness Program (SSAP) which will offer peer-led and co-designed support groups specifically tailored for people who identify as living with mental health issues and suicidal crisis such as attempts or thoughts. This is being funded by the NSW Government as part of the Towards Zero Suicides initiative.