We are the peak body representing the community managed mental health sector in the ACT. Our aim is to foster the capacity of the sector to deliver quality, sustainable, recovery-oriented services to support people with mental health issues and their carers.
This aim is underpinned by our work in mental health policy development; workforce training; sector coordination; and initiatives to promote the critical role of community services in facilitating recovery and enhancing wellbeing.
MHCC ACT is funded by the ACT Government and works in partnership with Carers ACT and the ACT Mental Health Consumer Network to ensure that our work is informed by the needs of consumers and carers.
MHCC ACT was established as an independent peak body in 2004 and has been serving the sector for over a decade. MHCC ACT’s origins and evolution can be understood in the context of the history of mental health care in Australia:
Since the mid-20th century, there has been a gradual shift towards community-based care for the mentally ill as an alternative to institutionalisation and hospitalisation.
In the latter part of the 1990s, the recovery-oriented approach gained recognition as an effective way to assist individuals affected by mental illness. This approach is underpinned by the idea that recovery from mental illness is achievable; wherever possible, recovery should take place in the community rather than in a hospital setting.
This new approach not only transformed the landscape for consumers and carers, it also revolutionised service delivery for community-based organisations who became front-line service providers.
As government policies adjusted to this new framework, a number of consumers, carers and other individuals in the Canberra community saw a need and an opportunity to bring together the otherwise fragmented organisations working throughout the region. Their common goal was an interest in developing a comprehensive and integrated approach to psychosocial rehabilitation and community support in the ACT.
Following three years of extensive consultations facilitated by ACTCOSS, MHCC ACT held its inaugural Annual General Meeting in 2004.
Kenmore Psychiatric Hospital (Kenmore Asylum), Goulburn, decommissioned in 2003.
MHCC ACT is a member of Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA). Together with other state and territory peak community mental health organisations, CMHA represents a unified voice for over 800 community-based, non-Government organisations delivering services to the millions of people affected by mental illness across Australia.