Share These Stories – Lived Experience Stories of Ballarat Community Members

An Anthology of Lived-Experience Stories

Supported by the Victorian State Government and Ballarat Suicide Prevention Place Based Trial, this collection of lived experience stories celebrates the value of story telling for healing from mental health challenges and the importance of real voices and connection in the recovery journey.

We know that many community members face mental health challenges during their lifetime. The impact of these challenges can vary greatly but many will experience being mentally unwell themselves or know someone with a mental health challenge.  

Launching this week, the latest publication from headspace Ballarat and Western Victoria Primary Health Network will help individuals to delay actions, re-direct unhelpful thoughts and cope better with mental health challenges. The anthology of lived experience stories from locals in the Central Highlands region is designed to promote seeking support and to help individuals respond to a person who might be at risk of suicide. 

The 2021 Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System findings gave us an opportunity to elevate the voice of those with lived experience of mental health challenges and use it to re-shape the way support and services are designed and delivered. As such, Western Victoria PHN in partnership with the Victorian Government, funded Suicide Prevention Place Based Trials. These initiatives are supporting communities to reduce the incidence of suicide through a coordinated place-based approach to suicide prevention. 

Manager headspace Ballarat, Janelle Johnson said the project was a positive step in the suicide prevention space. 

“We know that no two stories are the same and perhaps no two coping or wellbeing approaches are the same. Reading about another person’s mental health journey can let those experiencing their own difficulties know that they are not alone, and that help is available,” she said. 

The Share These Stories anthology brings a range of lived-experience accounts together in one place to ensure readers feel connected to their community.  

Western Victoria Primary Health Network CEO Rowena Clift said sharing stories can be healing – and this was the impetus for the collaboration. 

“This book offers an opportunity to shed light on how lived experience can help others. It allows family, friends, workmates, health professionals and others to recognise, acknowledge, validate and respond in constructive ways to help those in distress.” 

To download your free digital copy, click HERE

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