Many people have contributed toward the development of this paper.

Firstly, it is essential to thank all the consumers and carers who took part in the focus groups and interviews. These people gave generously of their time, and their willingness to share their very personal experiences is greatly appreciated. The personal stories of people of all ages who have experienced mental illness — individually or by being a family member or carer— are evident throughout the paper and provide its richness.

Secondly, many service providers, from a range of service sectors, contributed their valuable experiences, and these diverse perspectives have also enriched the paper.

Furthermore, a great deal of organisation was required to set up the national consultations, and special acknowledgement goes to the people who spent considerable time and personal effort organising focus groups, interviews and visits in their area.

Finally, there were many people who shared their resources, information and networks. This support was invaluable for covering the wide range of research, literature, practice and views from many different disciplines that contribute to understanding this area.

The efforts of all these people enabled the collation of a necessarily diverse range of experiences and perspectives. It is hoped that this paper captures their views and effectively voices their experiences and concerns.

Note: The original discussion paper and subsequent reports were funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing and developed for the National Mental Health Promotion and Prevention Working Party, which exists under the auspices of the Australian Health Ministers' Advisory Council National Mental Health Working Group and the National Public Health Partnership.