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Forensicare’s Julie Dempsey awarded prestigious 2019 Meritorious Service Award

Forensicare’s Julie Dempsey awarded prestigious 2019 Meritorious Service Award

Forensicare’s Senior Consumer Consultant Julie Dempsey has been awarded the highly-esteemed 2019 Meritorious Service Award by the Victorian Branch of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatry (RANZCP). Presented at the General Meeting on Monday 6 May by Professor Richard Newton, Julie was nominated for her outstanding contribution to improving of care for those with mental illness.

Associate Professor Andrew Carrol and Dr Gunvat Patel initially nominated Julie for her skillful operation in a demanding space between service users and service providers, and her commitment to improving forensic consumer care. Julie has enabled a number of successful consumer-led initiatives, and tirelessly advocates for a client-centered, recovery-focused culture and procedures, frequently turning obstacles into opportunities.

The Victorian Branch Committee of RANZCP recognises service to the mental health of Victorians through two annual Meritorious Service Awards, with Julie taking out the 2019 award for an agency or individual non-College member.

“I am chuffed they have taken the time to recognise my work,” Julie said.

Julie has been with Forensicare for a decade, beginning in 2009 on a 15-hour week backfill trial. Now in her role as Senior Consumer Consultant, she promotes consumer perspectives and concerns to staff and management to help improve the organisation’s services. Julie’s lived experience of the Victorian mental health system gives her an insight into consumer needs—expertise she uses on a daily basis.

“My passion lies in enabling other consumers to be empowered, have a voice, and be an effective influence on their treatment, environment and recovery,” Julie said.

“By giving consumer perspective, we are hopefully then able to be more responsive to consumer needs.”

“To enable recovery, we need to build trust, dignity and hope with a collaborative team approach.”

“We need to see the human being in front of us, no matter how unwell or dysfunctional they seem—there’s still a person in there.”

Forensicare CEO Tom Dalton—along with Chief Social Worker Lisa Wright, Professor Ruth Vine and former Board Chair Bill Healy—attended the night to witness Julie’s incredible achievement.

“Julie’s award from the College of Psychiatrists speaks volumes to the influence and impact of her role as a consumer consultant,” Tom said.

“It is an enormous honour for her to be recognised in this way, and a fantastic recognition of her work.”

The Victorian Branch Committee were equally impressed with Julie’s efforts in the field of mental health, as well as her touching speech delivered on the night.

“Julie is a true leader in our sector, and we were delighted that she accepted the award,” Chair Richard Newton said.

“She is obviously a most deserving winner of our prestigious award, and we congratulate her,” Victorian Branch Coordinator Jennifer Darman added.

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