7 minute read

Mind’s inaugural Stratford Lecture brought together nearly 200 lived experience advocates and supporters – in Melbourne and livestreamed nationally - to celebrate excellence in lived experience leadership and its capacity to challenge and change how the mental health system functions. 

Ellie Hodges, a nationally recognised lived experience thought leader, was the guest speaker at the live event, held on Wednesday 27 March at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne.

The full event is available to watch below.

Ellie’s lecture explored the need for high level system transformation that is informed and led by people with lived experience at all levels. Her very personal presentation drew on elements of her own leadership journey and, as she said, “the dilemmas, tensions, challenges, brutality and beauty of it all.”

It lived up to her promise to talk about being on the leading edge of disruption and innovation within system change, to truly transforms the mental health and social sector. 

Ellie has visioned, led and partnered on numerous cutting-edge projects to strengthen lived experience leadership including the development of models of Lived Experience Leadership and Lived Experience Governance frameworks. She is in a working partnership with Mind Australia on the co-design of the Healing Place, a peer-led residential service, which was a recommendation of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

The Lecture also featured presentations by Mind CEO Gill Callister and Mind Executive Director of Lived Experience Katie Larsen.

Describing Mind’s commitment to lived experience leadership, Ms Callister said that valuing lived experience and Lived Expertise is not only the right thing to do, but importantly, leads to better outcomes. 

“In doing so, we create a supportive and inclusive environment for all by empowering individuals and promoting holistic wellbeing,” she said.

“Valuing lived experience helps us work towards a society that truly understands and embraces mental health as a natural part of life.”

Describing the impetus for the annual Lecture and Scholarship, Katie Larsen said this is a critical time for transforming the tenets of mental health and support.

“This cannot be a moment that passes us by. Instead it is an opportunity to build the foundations to drive system reform through radical disruption of ways and approaches that never adequately served the people they were designed for. Now, it is time for us to do the designing.” 

The Stratford Lecture and The Stratford Scholarship have been established by Mind Australia to honour lived experience pioneer Anthony Stratford’s contributions to the Peer Workforce.

Mind Board member Erandathie Jayakody gave a moving tribute to Anthony, her friend, colleague and mentor, who passed away in March 2023.

The recipient of the inaugural Mind Stratford Scholarship was announced at the Lecture event and the awardee Mush McLoughlan received the scholarship in an emotional and impassioned speech.

Mind thanks all who attended in person and livestream attendees for making the event such a success. We look forward to seeing lots of familiar and new faces at the Stratford Lecture 2025!

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Woman speaking on stage


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Four women standing and smiling


An audience listing and enjoying a conference


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