The Practice, Service, System and Community Transformation Conference was an opportunity for people from across all walks of life and support areas with broad experiences to come together to consider and contribute to ‘how we can be the best we can be’. Together we are responding to the needs of, and building capacity with people with mental illness, families, services and communities. This was a free conference with supporting funding from the Australian Government.
It was an opportunity to hear from people who are involved in reforms and consultations, who have something to share about transformation and who have experiences across a range of needs and responses.
Partners in Recovery Tasmania invited all people living with mental illness, families and friends, community members who care, community groups, service providers (from across a range of service responses including disability, housing, alcohol and drug) policy makers and others.
On Day 1 of the Practice, Service, System and Community Transformation Conference we were warmly Welcomed to Country by Aunty Nola. The conference was formally opened by Zackery, who spoke of his lived experience. Elida, a carer and Kathy made a big impression by talking about their journeys. Frank Quinlan shared his expert knowledge and experience from Mental Health Australia. Then Anne Markwick and Helen Glover aroused interest and discussion presenting a fresh approach to 'recovery' practice. Kerry Graham also inspiried people with her energetic and encouraging approach. Learn more by viewing the attached videos and photos.
Day 2 of the Practice, Service, System and Community Transformation Conference included plenty of practice discussion led by the dynamic duo; Helen Glover and Anne Markwick. A significant highlight was the presentation by David Meldrum from Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia - a picture of the transformation taking place in the system and PIR's place in the 'new world'. Wendy Groot from the Mental Health Carers Tasmanian also presented. There were plenty of panels, workshops and a World Cafe planning session. Details, photos and presentations are attached.
A highlight on Day 3 of the Practice, Service, System and Community Transformation Conference was the interview with Kelly Jenkins. Her experience was a sober reminder of the frustrating journey too many people take through the mental health system. A series of workshops, another World Cafe and a summary session brought the conference to a close. Pictures and details of presentations are attached.
On the 15th to the 17th of June 2015, 175 delegates across Tasmania gathered to join the Practice, Service, System and Community Transformation Conference at the Tailrace Centre, Riverside, Launceston. Partners in Recovery Tasmania, an Australian Government initiative, organised this event and invited people living with mental illness, families, friends, community members, sport groups and other local natural community services, service providers, policy makers and others to attend.
Delegates were Welcomed to Country by Aunty Nola Cooper. Zac Zachary, Cathy O’Brian and Elida Meadow opened the Practice, Service, System and Community Transformation Conference with the key message to be the best we can be in supporting people.
Frank Quinlan, CEO at Mental Health Australia and keynote speaker at the PIR Conference, talked about Australia’s mental health reform and next steps forward. This provided delegates with an interesting, informative and up-to-date overview of the current situation across Australia.
Dr Anne Markwick, UK Director of Markwick Assosciates, stimulated delegates with her enthusiastic, dynamic and charismatic presentation on resilience/recovery orientation in practice. Anne said that a person in crisis will need a lot of support initially and with improving wellbeing the amount of support should decrease. In other words increasing personal agency and development of resilience consequently requires fewer resources than the targeted support through services.
Kerry Graham inspired people with her topic of collaborative impact and, as the title suggests, explained in a short but concise way, with many real life examples, what the fuss is all about.
The concurrent sessions of the first day were spent in smaller groups and topics covered included social isolation (a summary from the Mental Health Council Tasmania Isolation Research Project), developing resilience in ourselves and our teams, and prevention and early intervention.
With all these rich impressions and learnings from the first day of the conference a Round Table activity wrapped the first day up. Questions were asked; where have we come from; what are we celebrating together? These stimulated delegates to share ideas with people of similar interest. The slogan ‘Be the best we can be’ was repeated throughout the day and acted to raise curiosity for the coming days.
On day two, David Meldrum, CEO MIFellowship Australia, outlined the possible future relationships between NDIA and PIR. This provocative presentation stimulated and ignited discussions addressing the unknown future of PIR.
Helen Glover, Director Enlightened Consultants, on the other hand, brought the discussion back on to practice and introduced the theory of support services being trampolines and not safety nets. The delegate feedbacks were positive and most reported to being enthralled by the fresh and passionate presentation which provided insights and inspiration.
As the morning of day two was very thought provoking and many questions arose, a panel discussion was organised to direct questions to Frank Quinlan, Anne Markwick, Helen Glover and David Meldrum.
In the afternoon, concurrent sessions were held and delegates had the opportunity to follow their stream of interest. A diverse range of presentations including; the Caring Voices Project of Mental Health Carers Tasmania; Indigenous Health with Pakana Connections – Key Principles for Coming to Knowledge; Mental Health and Homelessness; Peer Education and Support; and Unravelling Wicked Problems were offered.
The end of the day was wrapped up in an Innovation Hub - another group discussion where people were asked to gather ideas and possibilities that were emerging during the day – providing pathways to experience ourselves at our best. The discussion was interactive, fun, interesting and thought provoking.
The last day of the Practice, Service, System and Community Transformation Conference was started by Kelly Jenkins, a worker with Enlightened Consultants where, with help of an appreciative enquiry interview, told of her personal experience with adversity, and her learnings. Her session titles, Being the Leader You would Follow, was a very frank, open and honest presentation that inspired and encouraged people to be the best they can be.
The last concurrent session, with topics such as Transformation through Integration, the Tamar North West Comorbidity Action Project; Micro System Change -What is Possible for Individuals; and the introduction of Stretch Cards sparked considerable interest.
There were many learnings and much interest was aroused. Commitments were made that will transform practice, services, system and communities.
Key findings from the feedback survey
175 delegates across Tasmania attended the Practice, Service, System and Community Transformation Conference in Launceston. 46 delegates completed the survey from which the following key findings can be drawn.
Overall the Tailrace Centre Riverside Launceston offered comfortable facilities and pleased us with their culinary delights. A special Welcome Reception on Monday evening was perceived as a highlight with 92% saying that the opportunity of networking was very good to excellent.
All (35) people answering the question if the conference was worthwhile and relevant to you or your organisation answered with ‘yes’. Individual feedback included but was not limited to answers such as:
In regards to the program structure and content more than 94% of survey participants rated the conference content and structure between good and excellent ( ~18% good, ~37% very good, ~40% excellent). Additional comments were:
Following changes/improvements and ideas were suggested by delegates for future Partners in Recovery Conferences:
In conclusion, the above feedback clearly showed the success of the Practice, Service, System and Community Transformation Conference 2015. Furthermore, 97.22 % of the survey participants stated that they would attend future conferences organised by Partners in Recovery.