For Women Consumers

We Support Women with programs that capture the lived wisdom of consumers and staff.

‘Female-only spaces are so, so important …
all I ever needed was somewhere ‘safe’ to retreat to …’

Women Speak Out Program

No-one can tell their story of mental illness like a woman who has been there.  And many women would appreciate the opportunity to share their experience.  Our Women Speak Out Program consumer advocacy training helps build the confidence and skills and can enable women to actively participate in public forums or committees and services. Hearing the voice of women consumers can positively impact on how services are delivered, and can result in improved work practices in inpatient and community settings. The Women Speak Out Program will help build a safe and gender sensitive mental health system for all women. The Network partners with individuals and relevant organisations to bring this program to women in the community.

Women from Ethnic Communities

Due to a recent partnership with Action on Disability within Ethnic Communities (ADEC), the Network is now able to promote the Women Speak Out Program more widely to ethnic-speaking women to speak about their experiences of mental illness.

Women in Rural and Regional Victoria

A pilot program, Breaking the Silence, has been funded by State Trustees and SNAP Gippsland, for women in rural and regional Victoria.  It aims to help break down stigma and isolation and empower women to contribute to local community efforts to improve mental health. It is planned to put strategies in place to encourage women who undertake the program to support each other after the training has concluded. It is expected that over time the Breaking the Silence program will be rolled out to other parts of rural and regional Victoria. We will continue to build on our learnings and develop this program further.

For Health Professionals

Training – Building Gender-Sensitive and Safe Practice

Funded and now licensed to the Network by the State Government, The Network developed a fee-for-service Gender Sensitivity and Safety Training Program for all mental health services in Victoria.

The training modules have already been delivered to every acute mental health unit. To continue this work the training is available to the Mental Health Community Services Sector and Alcohol and Other Drugs services.  The aim is to provide insight into what women consumers really need from mental health staff and services. Introductory information sessions are also available to services or community groups on request. You can download our Brochure here.

Contact the Network for further information about these programs at