Australian Mental Health Prize Nominee 2017
President of HelpingMinds, Patrick Hardwick has been nominated as one of the 6 finalists for the Australian Mental Health Prize
Patrick is President of HelpingMinds and Mental Health Carers Australia. Over a period of nearly twenty years Patrick has been involved with HelpingMinds. He is now undertaking the role of President for the third time.
Patrick Hardwick has been the driving force behind the development of “The Practical Guide for working with Carers of a people with a mental illness”
This started as idea which Patrick persisted to find the funding for after being knocked back by four commonwealth departments. Patrick eventually got the Colleges of Psychiatrists, GPs and Mental Health Nurses together to develop and endorse the guide. This guide will make a huge difference to Mental Health Carers across the country as it is implemented into mental health service practices.
This Guide was initially launched in Canberra last year by Robyn Kruk, with subsequent launches in every state and territory, including at the Indigenous Suicide Prevention conference in Alice Springs. It was also launched at the World Federation of Mental Health conference in Cairns and at the Mental Health Services (TheMHS) conference in Auckland.
A meeting of the Chief Psychiatrists also endorsed the Guide. The National Mental Health Commission is keen to do more work around implementation of the Guide later in the year. There has also been meetings with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare who see a possible use for the Guide as they develop new standards. The Australian MH Outcomes and Classification Network (AMHOCN) also showed the Guide at the recent International MH Conference.
With the publication of the guide development of a national website based on the guide is underway. It will consist of useful tools and reports and will have details on it of the various implementation project around the country. Other funding has been provided for four demonstration sites in WA, SA (private psychiatric hospital), Victoria (CMO) and Tasmania. The WA pilots are being undertaken at four sites with the involvement of the WA MHC Read more here
Funding has also been sourced to develop eLearning modules to assist in implementation of the Guide in services. The Commonwealth has provided funding for the development of an APP which will assist services in implementing the Guide and which will also allow input against the six Partnership Standards in the Guide with the ability to produce reports.
Patrick’s persistence that Mental Health Carers deserved better recognition of the role they play in our society has seen this project come to fruition. This guide is designed to reduce stigma around mental health by ensuring that service providers both government and in the not for profit sector recognise the important role that Mental Health carers play.
The passion, commitment and drive of advocates such as Patrick is ensuring that things re slowly improving in the Mental Health Sector. Patrick uses all his annual leave from his role within the Dept of Immigration to undertake his national advocacy role. He is a tireless campaigner for improvement in supports and recognition of the amazing role that Mental Health Carers play.
What experience does Patrick have around mental health?
Patrick is a carer for his wife Judith who has been affected by mental health issues. Patrick felt there was stigma around mental health, and a lack of understanding. Patrick didn’t realise for the first 3 years that he was a carer until he saw a newspaper advert by HelpingMinds (back then called The Association of Relatives and Friends of the Mentally Ill). He made contact and his first interaction was a counselling session. Patrick like many other carers are keen to have more information about how to help the person they are caring for but also would have appreciated friends or family asking how you’re doing and giving support. Patrick believes that people shouldn’t be alone and actively advocates for the rights of mental health carers.
Being a Mental Health Carer himself, Patrick Hardwick understands first-hand how difficult it can be caring for a loved one. Patrick is passionate about enhancing services available for carers and families and advocating their rights and needs. He wants to see a cultural change where Mental Health Services and other providers take a more family centred approach to treatment, discharge and support.
Since 1999 Patrick has been officially advocating for carers and families, and Patrick has held positions within several Mental Health organisations including:
- Deputy Chair of the Private Mental Health Consumer Carer Network (Australia)
- Director of Mental Health Australia
- President of Mental Health Carers Australia
- President of HelpingMinds
- Member of the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum
- Board Member – West Australian Association of Mental Health (WAAMH), 1999 – 2001
- Chairperson of the Guide Development Committee for the ‘Practical Guide for Working with Carers of People with a Mental Illness’.
- NDIS Mental Health Advisory Group
At a stage in life where many are retiring from professional life Patrick continues to work and be heavily involved in his voluntary work too. He is passionate about the advocacy work he undertakes.