08 Jun 2021
In this episode of Taking care, we speak to Maggie Toko, an impressive leader and advocate for those living with mental health issues.
Maggie has overcome the stigma and challenges of living with chronic mental illness to lead the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC) for nearly two decades. This is Victoria’s peak organisation for people with a lived experience of mental health problems or emotional distress. Before joining VMIAC, Maggie's work focused on homelessness, sexual assault and youth advocacy.
Reflecting on her personal struggles, Maggie gives credit to the people who walked with her on that journey.
‘A big part of my recovery has been [because of] the four ‘Ps’ in my life: my physician, my psychotherapist, my psychiatrist and my partner. Without those four ‘Ps’, I don’t know where I would have been, quite honestly.’
The mental health sector is a leader in the health consumer movement, with advocates who have a lived experience of mental health becoming a welcome and integral part of many health services in Australia, before this became common across other health sectors.
Over time, Maggie has seen the value of lived experience in building meaningful relationships and having strong support for others. Her own lived experience has also helped her to lead and develop mental health services throughout her career. She has also seen this from others involved in the mental health sector.
‘[Incorporating lived experience] is a really important, significant shift in the mental health system to do that… Advocates are truly coming into their own now where they’re recognised and identified and qualified; they’re seen as experts in their own lives.’
Listen to the full episode here.
The Taking care podcast series offers professional and consumer perspectives on current issues and answers some frequently asked questions about public safety in healthcare. Download and listen to the latest Taking care episode today.
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