Lived Experience

The Campus Mental Health Strategy (the Strategy) believes people with lived and living experiences have a fundamental right to be involved in decision making that affects them.

Together, we can create services and systems where nothing about us, without us. 

The Children's Mental Health Gallery 2022 /23

The Children’s Mental Health Gallery showcases creative expressions of mental health experiences. This includes visual, audio, and written expressions. 

We are dedicated to amplifying and celebrating lived and living experiences of mental health challenges and recovery. We believe in the power of creativity to raise awareness and create hope. From managing triumphs and hurdles, to bringing attention to little-known experiences – we want to make sure that diverse experiences are seen.

The online exhibition was launched as part of Mental Health Week 2022 and will be accessible for 6 months from 10 October 2022 until 10 May 2023.

The Gallery was established in 2022, with an inaugural online exhibition.
In 2023, we are excited to host an exhibition in-person at the Royal Children’s Hospital.
With a select group of 20 artists, we have curated an exhibition to explore lived and living experiences.
This includes a Gallery Event for artists and audiences to connect.
The 2023 exhibition is also available for online viewing, and will soon include podcast episodes that feature interviews with each artist.

Please click the link to view both 2022 and 2023 Galleries:


It is important to use chosen language of people with lived and living experience of mental health and recovery so we can communicate clearly and respectfully with each other. 

The Strategy uses the term of “people with lived and living experience” or “people with LLEx” to describe people who identify as:

•    someone with personal experience with mental health challenges and recovery; and/or,
•    someone with experience in caring for and supporting a person with mental health challenges and recovery. 

We continue to engage  children, young people, families, parents, carers, and supporters with LLEx across the Strategy.

This  is integral to ensuring that we develop, implement, and evaluate services and policies that best support children, young people, families, and carers to be healthy, safe, and able to lead a life they value.

Lived Experience Advisor Network

A LLEx Engagement Strategy was developed with Campus partners to ensure the collaborative, consistent, remunerated, and supported engagement of people who are interested in sharing their LLEx to improve mental health services. This involved the establishment of a Lived Experience Advisor Network (the Network).

The network consists of over 1500 Lived Experience Advisors (LEAs) with a diverse range of LLEx areas and intersectionalities, as displayed below.

In the first four months of engagement, the Network has facilitated over 3000 applications for LLEx Opportunities across the Strategy, including family centred care, research, guideline development, care pathways, trauma informed preventative care, and evaluation.

Feedback from people with LLEx: 

•    “This opportunity has opened a door to genuine two-way conversation.” 
•    “It felt like the staff genuinely cared and were very affirming about lived experience being an expertise.” 
•    “It's good to see so many clinicians keen to listen!” 
•    “Diverse group of people with diverse ideas.” 
•    “I loved that one of the staff shared their lived experience as a parent, this made me feel connected.” 
•    “I'm overwhelmed about how respectful everyone was in the meeting. How refreshing!!” 
•    “We can be leaders for others health organisations who work with infants, children and adolescents and their family, carers and supporters.” 
•    “A refreshing experience! This meeting engaged shared authentic and respectful participants who are motivated by the right reasons.” 
•    “I am so inspired to be useful again after being in a state of resentment for a long time.” 

Feedback from Staff: 

•    “Great opportunity to remind ourselves that we are all complex humans with interesting lives. As staff we don't often share these insights due to work / time limitations or boundaries or a bit of both.” 
•    “Safe, inclusive environment with space to listen to everyone.” 
•    “Warm interactions. There was a calmer vibe in the meeting, mostly from staff.” 
•    “Genuine appreciation of LEAs.” 
•    “The openness and willingness to share of LEAs.” 
•    “I like the different perspectives the LEAs bring.” 
•    “Many LEAS made an amazing effort to join in, which really shows commitment to what we are doing.” 
•    “Being able to hear from lived experience advisors’ unique perspectives.”  
•    “Having this feedback as a mechanism in place for everyone.” 
•    “Use of [staff facilitator’s] lived experience really bolstered and enriched conversation.” 


Engagement Principles


We are Purposeful
We know why we engage and who we are engaging with.

We are Prepared
We take lived experiences into account and we engage early.

We are Genuine
We are true to our word and put people with LLEx first.

We are Inclusive
We provide meaningful and supportive opportunities.

We Communicate
We provide regular updates and complete the feedback loop.

We Remunerate
We demonstrate respect for expertise through remuneration.


Engagement Continuum

The engagement opportunities that are available in the Strategy vary in frequency, area of interest, and along the engagement continuum.

Contact Us

If would like to know more, please email Emily Unity at 

Acknowledgement of Country

Australian Aboriginal Flag
Progress Pride Flag
Torres Strait Islander Flag

At Mental Health Central we acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live, gather and work. We recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community. We pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.

We acknowledge all people with a lived or living experience of mental ill-health and recovery. At the Campus, we particularly acknowledge children, young people, families, carers, and supporters. We recognise their vital contribution and value the courage of those who share this unique perspective for the purpose of learning and growing together to achieve better outcomes for the Campus, staff, sector, and all people of lived experience.


Proudly supported by The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation