10 October 2022

“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become” - Carl Gustav Jung

This year Mind has chosen to focus our World Mental Health Day celebrations on the unique capabilities that people with lived experience bring to mental health and wellbeing recovery.

We are all at a very exciting part of our evolution – as an organisation and a society - in which the value of lived experience is being recognised and appreciated as never before.

Finally, we are beginning to see people with lived experience being included into every stage of the development, operation and evaluation of mental health support.

Finally we are seeing people with lived experience in leadership roles, where they can combine their experiential knowledge with the authority to transform the mental health system into one that is more kind, more just, and more able to inspire long term recovery in the people it supports.

The Victorian government’s recent commitment to open the state’s first Lived Experience Residential Service will be a key stepping stone in the crucial transformation of our mental health systems in Australia into one in which people with lived experience lead every step of the design, development, governance, operation and evaluation of services. Mind is honoured to be partnering with Alfred Mental Health and Addiction Health in the development of this landmark service.

I am so proud to be part of an organisation that has been at the vanguard in Australia of the worldwide movement to truly put lived experience at the centre of everything we do.

Employing people with lived experience on its own is not enough. As our South Australia General Manager Brett Williams said recently, only when an organisation can train and support staff with lived experience into designated peer practitioner roles can those staff truly bring their whole selves to their work every single day.

Mind launched its Lived Experience Strategy 2021-2024 last year, setting a target for 20 per cent of its total workforce to be peer practitioners by 2024.

In South Australia, Mind’s psychosocial programs have already achieved a 900 per cent increase in designated Peer Practitioner and Lived Experience leadership roles since March 2021. Seventy five per cent of program level leadership staff in our psychosocial programs are in designated Lived Experience roles. It’s a fantastic achievement.

Mind in South Australia is well ahead of schedule and we are looking forward to meeting those targets nationally as we find new opportunities to expand and grow our lived experience workforce.

I wish everyone a happy World Mental Health Day and hope it is an opportunity for each of us to learn something new, be it in our personal or professional lives, about making mental health and wellbeing a reality for ourselves and the people around us.

Gill Callister