My name is George and I have been in the mental health industry for 11 years. I got into the industry after I wanted to use my story to help provide some hope and inspiration to those still struggling. I was once told by a service, when I offered to volunteer to help in any way I could, that I had nothing to offer. That didn't stop me! It was the beginning of my journey into the sector, where I am now as passionate about helping people with Lived Experience get into the industry, as I am with helping the consumers I work with.
Outside of mental health I enjoy quiet time with my friends, keeping fit, and watching way too much sport!
I began as a recovered speaker and consumer consultant for The Butterfly Foundation, where I have told my story at conferences, in media interviews, assisted with the development and implementation of education programs, and more. I have also provided mentoring to recovered speakers who are new to telling their story in the industry.
I have also worked as part of the Enhanced Post Discharge Support Program, on the Inpatient Service, at The Alfred. The goal of which, was to provide support for 28 days, post discharge, to help consumers reintegrate back into the community.
Following on from The Alfred, I spent some time working up in Canberra and regional NSW, for an NDIS provider, Flourish Australia. As part of that role, I facilitated groups, and provided one-on-one support to consumers in the community.
After returning to Melbourne early last year, I found two roles at St Vincent's Community Mental Health, which I go into more detail below.
My current role/work
I currently work as an Enhanced Peer Support worker at both of St Vincent's Community Mental Health Clinics, in two different programs; Group Program and Brief Intervention Team (GPBIT), and Intensive Community Packages Program (ICP).
The ICP program requires me to work with the most high risk clients of self harm and aggression, who are usually the most difficult engage. This is largely an outreach role, conducted over a six month period.
My GPBIT role is an in-reach peer support service, for up to 10 sessions, along with also co-facilitating groups. I have also managed funding that was provided to us during the COVID pandemic, to help provide essential items to our consumers over recent months. I have also been a preceptor to new Lived Experience staff within the team and service as a whole. I have been able to provide supervision and mentoring to Lived Experience staff, which has been an incredibly rewarding part of my time here.
In addition to my regular work at St Vincent's, I am also sitting on a number of committees.
I am currently sitting on a model of care committee, where we are evaluating and re-designing the model of care, which will dictate how the service will work in the future, at the community level.
In addition, I also sit on another committee (LEWAG - Lived Experience Worker Advisory Group), which is made up of Lived Experience staff from around the state, which is working with DHHS to help map out what the Lived Experience Workforce will look like moving forward.
Lastly, I have also been assisting the union, HACSU, with the current EBA negotiations, helping to write and edit the Lived Experience part of the next EBA, along with assisting with the direct negotiations with the government.
- I have completed the core IPS (Intentional Peer Support) training
- I have completed a two-day group facilitation workshop
- Completed Money Minded Training - which is a program to assist consumers with their attitudes and relationships towards their finances
- Undergraduate and post graduate degrees in Media Communications
My approach to supervision
For me, supervision needs to be a safe, open space, where people can talk about anything important to them. I don't tend to go in to a session with a set plan. I like to let the supervisee tell me what they would like from the session and what works best for them.
We are all different, and because of that, there can't be a one size fits all approach to supervision.