Ways to amplify the voices of people who have lived through mental health and social issues has emerged as a theme in our latest round of Discovery Grants.

Our Discovery Fund grant round is designed to support organisations who want to answer questions and build evidence that will lead to significant and positive changes to our health system. The recipients of our 2019 grants all share the goal of bringing people with lived experience of health, particularly mental health, into the research and planning picture as key advisers.

We were thrilled to receive 45 quality applications from people from all over South Australia working in health who had burning questions they wanted to answer. While the calibre of applications and ideas is always high, there were some strong themes that emerged, shining a light on what is important to those working to improve health outcomes for our community.

Our successful 2019 grant recipients are as follows:

  • UnitingCare Wesley Bowden is looking at the issue of young carers and how they can identify them, reach out to them and provide resources to help them. The project will be informed by current and former young carers.
  • The Australian Centre for Social Innovation, in partnership with Youth Inc. is exploring how young people and their communities can become first responders for mental health crises to intervene before hospital admissions are required. Young people and their insights will be key to this project.​
  • A partnership between the Lived Experience Leadership and Advocacy Network (LELAN) and the University of South Australia involves researching how people with lived experience of mental health can become leaders in mental health and how to support them to do so.
  • The Don Dunstan Foundation and Mental Health Coalition of South Australia are exploring the development of a mental health workforce comprising peer workers. These are workers with lived experience of mental health and recovery with the skills to help clients on their similar journey.

These projects will put the spotlight on lived experience, especially understanding how the strengths of those with lived experience can become an integral part of our health system.

We believe that lived experience will be vital to finding creative solutions to the challenges our health system experiences in both prevention and service delivery that work for everyday South Australians.