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The MHCC ACT was established as a peak body for the community-managed mental health sector in the ACT in 2004.

Kenmore Psychiatric Hospital (Kenmore Asylum), Goulburn, decommissioned in 2003.

The community-managed mental health sector grew out of the gradual shift towards community-based care for people with mental health conditions as an alternative to institutionalisation and hospitalisation. This shift gained momentum with the waves of de-institutionalisation in the 1970s and 80s, although the growth in community-based supports lagged behind.

In the latter part of the 1990s, the recovery-oriented approach gained recognition as an effective way to help individuals with mental health conditions. This approach is underpinned by the idea that recovery from mental health conditions is possible and that recovery happens in the community rather than in a hospital setting. 

This new approach transformed the landscape for consumers and carers and revolutionised service delivery for community-based organisations, which became front-line service providers. 

As government policies adjusted to this new framework, consumers, carers and other individuals in the Canberra community saw a need and opportunity to bring together the diverse organisations working throughout the region. These individuals and groups, which included the nascent ACT Mental Health Consumer Network, the Mental Health Providers Network and what would become the ACT Consumer Carer Caucus, shared a common interest in developing a comprehensive and integrated approach to psychosocial rehabilitation and community support in the ACT and, with assistance from ACTCOSS, worked collaboratively towards this goal.

Following extensive consultations, the MHCC ACT was formed and held its inaugural Annual General Meeting in 2004.

The establishment and early years of our organisation coincided with the beginning of more than a decade of significant investment in community-managed mental health services by both ACT and Commonwealth governments. we soon grew from a representational peak to a body also delivering a range of sector development and workforce development initiatives.

Over the last decade, we have supported ACT community-managed mental health providers through the tumultuous transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The introduction of the NDIS radically changed the funding and supports landscape for consumers, carers and providers, and remains an ongoing area of focus in our public policy advocacy.

Since 2007, we have has been a member of Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA), the alliance of the state and territory community-managed mental health sector peaks. Through CMHA, we influence national mental health policy and participate in national projects.

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