Co-design of the new national mental health lived experience consumer peak body

Closed 3 Nov 2023

Opened 15 Sep 2023


The Australian Government values the contributions of people with lived and/or living experiences of mental ill-health. Their stories continue to drive improvements to the mental health system and services.

On 30 January 2023, the Government announced $7.5 million in funding to establish and operate two new independent mental health lived experience peak bodies:

  • one representing consumers; and
  • one representing families, carers and kin.

These peak bodies will work to ensure people with lived and/or living experiences of mental ill-health can help shape the policies and programs impacting them.

The Department of Health and Aged Care invites people with personal lived and/or living experiences of mental ill-health to share their thoughts on what the consumer peak body could look like.

There is a separate open submission process inviting people with lived and/or living experiences of mental ill-health as family members, carers and kin, to share their thoughts on what a family/carer/kin peak body could look like. The family/carer/kin peak body submission process is available at:

We invite you to contribute to either or both submission processes depending on what resonates with you.

About the open submission and National Peaks Project process

The creation of lived experience peak bodies builds on extensive previous work undertaken by the sector and years of advocacy efforts from mental health consumers, families, carers and kin. This includes through Government-directed processes such as:

  • 2012-2015 scoping work led by Mental Health Australia (MHA) and overseen by a Consumer Reference Group (CRG), for the establishment of a National Mental Health Consumer Organisation (see "related" below)
  • 2020 Productivity Commission Inquiry into Mental Health (
  • 2021-22 scoping project led by the National Mental Health Commission (NMHC) on the establishment of two national mental health peak bodies

Individuals and organisations representing mental health consumers, families, carers and kin have also done their own work to develop or adapt approaches for establishing consumer and family/carer/kin peak bodies.

Our intention and aim are to build on previous work and invite new, emergent and diverse perspectives.

You can find additional information in the Discussion Paper under ‘Related’. 

Foregrounding First Nations wisdom

This project will be conducted in a way that prioritises active collaboration and partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and ways of being, knowing and doing. We are committed to a do-no-harm and listen-first approach to working with First Nations Peoples and communities, and focus on equity principles to ensure to the best of our ability that all voices are heard equally, and that the peak bodies are designed in a way that will be grounded in cultural responsiveness and anti‑racism once established.

Why your views matter

We want to know how the consumer peak body could best serve you and your communities and ensure that your lived experience voice is heard throughout mental health reform moving forward.

All feedback provided through this open submission process, and the concurrent co-design workshops led by The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI), will inform a competitive grant process to engage an appropriate organisation/s to set up each peak body. The competitive grant process is expected to open later in 2023.

We recognise there are many ways individuals, groups, organisations and institutions are seeking to ‘co-design’ across the mental health system, and this project is also part of that. In this project’s context and scope, ‘co-design’ is aligned with the ‘Collaborate’ level in the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) Public Participation Spectrum, available at:

Through this project, we will strive to ‘Collaborate’ as follows:

  • We (the Department) will look to you (the lived and living experience community and leaders) for advice and innovation in formulating solutions and incorporate your advice and recommendations into the decisions to the maximum extent possible.

How to share your views

A Discussion Paper can be found under ‘Related’. This paper outlines the priority next steps for implementation of the consumer peak body.

We invite you to share your thoughts on these implementation priorities, and to provide any feedback on how they might be achieved. We also invite you to share with us anything you think may be missing.

To share your views, please complete the online survey via the link below under 'Give us your views', noting:

  • For each implementation priority, you will be invited to select from multiple choice options to indicate whether a collection of statements linked to achieving the priority meet your expectations of the consumer peak body.
  • Please use free-text fields throughout the survey if you would like to expand on your responses, and/or to provide any additional thoughts, comments or feedback that you suggest we should also take into consideration when progressing this work.
  • The survey includes 10 pages and 32 questions, and you can save and come back later if you choose to.

If you have any concerns about completing this survey or wish to suggest a different format for sharing your thoughts, please contact the team via: for further advice. Please also let us know if there is anything that might make this process more accessible to you.

What happens next

Thank you to everyone who shared their stories, feedback and thoughts to inform the establishment of two new national mental health lived experience peak bodies, including through this open submission process. We greatly value your contributions.

The Department will review feedback and recommendations from the open submission process, along with virtual co-design workshop sessions facilitated by TACSI. This will inform a competitive grants process to engage an appropriate organisation/s to set up each peak body. The competitive grant process is expected to open in the coming months.

If you have any questions or would like to be added to our mailing list to receive further updates as this work progresses, please contact


  • Anyone from any background


  • Mental health
  • Strategic Policy
  • Policy Development