Share your mental health system experience

HealthWISE Mental Health Lived Experience Worker Adam Wise is keen to get a better picture of what mental health services should like like. Picture: Contributed

Community members in the South Burnett and Cherbourg who have struggled with mental illness are invited to share their stories in a bid to make a tangible difference to the health system.

Local not-for-profit HealthWISE is looking for a diverse group of volunteers throughout the Darling Downs West Moreton, South Burnett and Southern Downs regions to join a Lived Experience Reference Group. The group will work in an advisory capacity with the organisation, providing valuable insights into how future services are delivered.

HealthWISE Mental Health Lived Experience Worker Adam Dunn explained that when it came to providing services for people their unique perspectives were vital.

“We’re trying to provide answers, provide ways of giving a hand to people, and those perspectives are vital to do it right,” he said.

He acknowledged that people rarely have an opportunity to give feedback on mental health services, let alone suggest how things could be done differently.

“What works in a capital city may not work at all in rural Queensland. What works for one area in South Burnett may not work at all for someone in Cherbourg or in Warwick,” Mr Dunn said.

“So unique experiences can inform how we support people – how we do what we do in a way that actually works for people and not what we think works for people.”

‘Lived experience’ is a broad term which refers to a person’s first-hand experiences with something; in this context, the mental health system.

Participants in the group will have personally interacted with the Queensland mental health system (including primary mental health), and be willing to discuss their insights.

They will be invited to share both positive and negative experiences, and should be prepared for robust and passionate discussions. Aged 18 and over, volunteers should be committed to sharing their views and respecting the views of others.

Starting in mid-December 2021, the group will meet over Zoom four times a year for 1-2 hours. Discussions will help guide the HealthWISE Lived Experience Program (funded by Darling Downs West Moreton PHN), which reaches people in Ipswich, The Lockyer Valley, Scenic Rim, Somerset, Kingaroy, Cherbourg, Warwick and Stanthorpe.

To learn more or express your interest in joining the group, call Adam for a yarn on 07 3050 4438 or email Spaces are limited. HealthWISE is looking for people with a variety of experiences and opinions.