PROGRAMS | Consumers and Carer Initiatives
Consumer network

The aim of the Consumer Advocate is to the raise awareness in mental health services of the issues confronting consumers from CALD backgrounds. A part time Consumer Advocate is available to provide advice to government, policy makers mental health service providers, and PDRSS's on how to deal with cultural diversity.

The role of the Consumer Advocate is to:
  • Provide specialist Mental Health and PDRSS services agencies on strategies to work more effectively with consumers from CALD backgrounds
  • To promote the needs of CALD consumers to mental health services and government with mental health concerns
  • To undertake community development initiatives with consumer groups and promote and develop skills in advocacy needs
  • To advise on priority needs for CALD consumers using mental health services


Current consultancy activities include:

  • Offering CALD consumer expertise to the staff at the VTPU
  • Networking closely with numerous organisations to ensure partnerships are established throughout the mental health service system in order to promote service improvement.
  • Member of numerous planning and advisory committees focusing on consumers’ interests with goal recovery for CALD clients of promoting better support.
  • Providing expert consumer advice to government and stakeholders in the mental health service system.
  • Management Committee Member of the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council.
  • FRANZP College of Psychiatrist  - Community Collaboration Committee; - Professional Practice Committee; - Continuing Medical Education Committee.
  • Board of ADEC (Advocacy in Disability for the Ethnic Community)
  • MIF (Vic) Directions Committee
  • Victorian Convenor of the PMHCCN (Private Mental Health Consumer and Carer Network)
  • Facilitator of two multicultural groups - Spectrum of Cultures, a mutual support group; The Victorian CALD Consumer Reference Group, an advisory group.
  • Nevil Management Training Committee.


Carers assisting other carers through peer support

Stigma Reduction Through

Publishing stories of people from CALD backgrounds with mental illness in local newspapers, books and on community radio.

To listen to Evan's interview on SBS radio discussing his experience, click here


Evan Bichara
Consumer Advocate

Telephone: 9288 3335
Mobile:  0411 054 882

Help tips for families and carers

Help tips are now available for families and carers in seven languages. These help tips aim to provide useful information on the symptoms and impact of mental illness and to support the carer role.
Click here for more details.

Spectrum of Cultures Mental Health Consumer Group
Click here for information on this group.

Spectrum of Cultures - Consumer Stories
Click here to read stories by Consumers.