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VTMH Lived and Living Experience Team Update

VTMH values the voice of lived and living experience (LLE), and continues to embed diverse voices across all our work. We would love to share reflections from the LLE team over this past year.

Naomi, Consumer Consultant:

In my role as a Consumer Consultant I bring a diverse range of identity points including the fact that I am a woman, I have lived experience of mental health challenges and I am a person of Christian faith.

Along with Olivia, our Carer Consultant, I seek to provide a transcultural lens to integrate lived/living experience with diversity instead of separating them. Many people bring both identity points and we advocate for community members to be part of decision making spaces.

I am the lead of the LLE COP (Community of Practice) within VTMH. The group runs bi-monthly and its objectives are as follows:

  • Exploring how lived experience practitioners influence practice within their organisations and the mental health sector.
  • Systemic barriers and enablers that face lived experience practitioners when trying to contribute or generate change. This will also become a relevant source of knowledge for the Department of Health (DoH).

I have also been part of a number of consultations. My role in supporting education strategies (such as workshops) is to help participants understand how concepts can look in real life. Furthermore, I encourage reflection on the experience of diverse communities.

Another project which I am involved in which is dear to my heart is St Vincent’s LLEW Leadership Development Strategy Group. The group meets every fortnight and my role is to champion diverse voices of lived experience who might otherwise be marginalised or overlooked.

Olivia, Carer Consultant:

I have just passed one year in my role as carer consultant, and have enjoyed working with and learning from the VTMH team members. This year, I have had the opportunity to participate in several meaningful projects such as Victoria’s Lived and Living Experience Leadership Strategy, and the 2023 VTMH Forum: Women Empowering Communities – Deepening the Dialogue in Mental Health and Wellbeing.

A highlight from this year was being a part of the working group and presenting at the Tandem and CLEW, A New Way Forward – a showcase of relational practice with families, carers, and supporters. Justin Kuay, VTMH consultant psychiatrist, and I presented a short introduction to cultural responsiveness and cultural safety when working relationally. I was honored to have been a part of such a great and pertinent event for families, carers, and supporters, and I enjoyed listening to many of the other presentations.

Naomi and I work closely together and she has been a great support and mentor to me. We are currently working on our annual review of LLE integration at VTMH and have presented a session to the wider team.