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What is lived experience?

‘Lived experience’ is a broad term which refers to a person’s first-hand experiences with something; in this context, with mental health. Someone who has a lived experience with mental ill health has dealt with mental illness, disorder or distress in the past or is dealing with it in the present. This may be through personal struggles with mental health or through family members or friends.

People with lived experience can provide valuable insights into mental health initiatives. The personal experience and understanding of their journey can guide prevention planning, treatment and education, as well as contribute to improved care and enhanced safety.

HealthWISE employs Lived Experience Workers, who use the knowledge gained from their personal experiences to relate to and support community members who are living with mental ill health.

We have also developed two Lived Experience Reference and Advisory groups in NSW and QLD , which invite community members to share their experiences of the mental health system so that we can improve our services .

Group members have shared their stories in a series of videos, in an effort to reach others struggling with mental illness and provide information on HealthWISE and our Lived Experience program.

Amy Ashman - Armidale & Walcha
Sammy Humphries - Narrabri, Moree, Warialda, Barraba & Bingara
Charlotte Wright - Toowoomba & surrounds
Amelia Smith - Gunnedah & Quirindi
Zoe Martin - Ipswich, Boonah, Esk, Fernvale and Gatton.

NSW Lived Experience Reference Group

As part of the HealthWISE Suicide Prevention Initiative Aftercare program, a Lived Experience Reference and Advisory Group has been developed in NSW to help understand the important role lived experience can play in helping to reduce the rates of suicide and its impact in our local community.  

HealthWISE invites people who have personal experiences with mental illness and suicide to consider participating in this group if they are interested and willing to share their time, thoughts and experiences.  The primary role of the group is to provide constructive guidance, opinions and feedback to HealthWISE to assist in improving the quality and delivery of HealthWISE suicide prevention programs, implementing new policies and programs.

Your wellbeing is the most important thing, so please think about where you are in your recovery journey before applying . Meetings are held every two months via Zoom, and occasionally in person.

NSW LERG Expression of Interest

QLD Lived Experience Reference Group

The QLD Lived Experience Reference Group was developed to provide opportunities for community members living with mental ill health to connect with one another and share their experiences with the mental health system so that HealthWISE can improve our own services.

HealthWISE provides this service in the local government areas of Southern Downs (Warwick, Stanthorpe) and South Burnett (Kingaroy, Murgon and Cherbourg) and Ipswich. Services may be delivered face to face or by phone/ skype depending on clients’ needs and location in the region.

To learn more or express your interest in joining the group, call Adam for a yarn on 07 3050 4438 or email mentalhealth@healthwise.org.au. Spaces are limited.

HealthWISE is looking for people with a variety of experiences and opinions.

Want to learn more? Read our frequently asked questions here.

QLD LERG Expression of Interest

Sharing Stories of Struggle and Hope

HealthWISE Lived Experience Psychosocial Support – South Burnett/Southern Downs and Ipswich

Mental health lived experience staff work in partnership with Mental health clinicians to offer this service across the South Burnett region (Kingaroy, Murgon, and Cherbourg) and the Southern Downs region (Warwick and Stanthorpe) funded by the DDWMPHN at no cost.

This program offers a range of confidential non-clinical supports for people who experience complex mental health problems and can assist with:

  • Social skills and connection, including family connections
  • Day to day living skills including help accessing financial support and budgeting
  • Finding and maintaining a home
  • Vocational skills and goals including volunteering, education and training goals
  • Maintaining physical wellbeing, including exercise and linking with health professionals
  • Building broader life skills including confidence and resilience
  • Managing drug and alcohol addiction e.g. tobacco

This service can support

  • People 18 years and over;
  • Experiencing mental health issues that significantly impact psycho-social wellbeing in personal and work life
  • Have been diagnosed with a severe and complex mental health illness and would benefit from specialised psychosocial supports to build on active living skills
  • Are currently under the care of a GP or Psychiatrist and do not have an NDIS package.

Referrals can be made by the person requiring support or carer /health professional. Services are offered through face to face, phone, or telehealth and are flexible and responsive.