by, for & with people with lived experience of mental distress, social issues or injustice
Ellie combines her professional, personal and socio-political worlds, centring lived experience and a commitment to transformative systems change. This is underpinned by a focus on innovation, social justice and leading together.
Ellie has worked in the community and mental health sectors for over twenty years as a community development lead, therapeutic practitioner, manager, educator, strategy/policy worker, advisor and consultant. Systems tend to use words like ‘marginalised’, ‘vulnerable’, ‘at-risk’ or ‘complex’ to describe who she has worked with and where. Ellie has a different understanding, she is awed by the generosity and strength of spirit within the people she has walked beside as they reclaim their lives from disruption, hardship, injustice and system failings. It is her story too.
In 2017 Ellie founded LELAN, the Lived Experience Leadership & Advocacy Network, a now funded organisation that she leads as Executive Director. LELAN draws on the collective experiences, insights and leadership of people with lived experience to drive desperately needed change in the mental health and social sectors.
Ellie is a member of the legislated South Australian Suicide Prevention Council and is Consumer Co-chair of the Independent Advisory Board for the ALIVE National Centre for Mental Health Translation. Ellie has completed the Company Directors Course and was previously a Lived Experience Advisor with the SA Mental Health Commission and had her own Private Practice as a Therapist/Consultant.
Anna Leditschke joins LELAN as Projects & People Lead, providing support and leadership in the areas of projects, systems advocacy, team development and business growth. Anna is a proud mother of two adult sons and grew up on Kaurna country in Adelaide. With qualifications in both nursing and education, over the last 20 years Anna has extensive experience working with and for people with lived experience of racism, discrimination, and socioeconomic and health inequities across the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and broader primary health care sector.
Through her own lived experiences, Anna appreciates the benefits of self-determination and ownership of co-designed solutions, innovative ideas and shared understandings. Anna has seen firsthand the critical contributions that people with lived experiences make to the holistic health and wellbeing of our communities.
In addition to her lived experience, Anna brings demonstrated experience, skills and knowledge in project, grants, and contract management; policy development/implementation; health workforce development; and marketing/communications and engagement.
Tanya is a lived experience activist living and working on Kaurna land. She is the Project Worker for our Learning from Lived Experience Suicide Prevention project and has had suicide touch her life in many ways.
Passionate about trauma informed care and heart to heart connection, Tanya champions the survivor movement, mad studies and peer approaches such as eCPR. Over the last 5 years, Tanya has been involved in state and national advocacy and has completed her Cert IV in Mental Health Peer Work.
In a past life, Tanya was a Medical Scientist, but she believes that her deepest wisdom comes from her lived experience expertise.
Read our intro to Tanya blog here.
Emrys (He/Him/They pronouns) is a proud autistic trans man who is neurodivergent and living, working and thriving on unceded Kaurna land. The lived experience sector has been an area of passion for him since before he knew that it had a name.
He has been an involved community member with LELAN for years and is now a Peer Project Worker for the LEDGE project. Prior to this he worked as a Peer Educator teaching in the Certificate IV in Mental Health, as a Community Peer Worker, and as a provider of Peer Supervisor. Emrys also sits on the Mental Health Coalition SA’s LEWP (Lived Experience Workforce Program) reference group and the State Autism Strategy Committee.
Emrys is passionate about neurodiversity affirming practice and destigmatising being neurodivergent. As someone who spent most of their life not knowing they were Autistic they still experienced significant harm based on their autism traits.
The areas of lived experience that Emrys has expertise in feels endless to him at times however some key areas would be complex trauma, suicide, human rights violations under the mental health act and detainment, psychosis, childhood trauma, abuse and leaving a spiritual cult. Emrys has witnessed the power of lived experience as a community, as a movement, and as a way of healing, growing and thriving alongside experiences that will never leave him.
Jenny is part of the LELAN team working in a project support role, assisting the team in research and evaluation of the various projects LELAN is engaged with. Jenny has recently transitioned from working in the world of infectious disease research, clinical trials and infection control to pursue a career that combines her passion for improving mental health services and personal lived experience of mental health struggles. Jenny has been a speaker and training facilitator for the Borderline Personality Disorder Collaborative since 2020 and volunteers as a facilitator for the Alternatives to Suicide peer groups.
In her spare time Jenny enjoys trail running, jigsaw puzzles and spending time with her favorite furry companion Percy the dog.
Sam is a youth mental health researcher, with a portfolio spanning across not-for-profits, government, and academia, and involvement in global initiatives across UK, Europe, and US. She embodies authenticity, humor and crazy ideas in her research and prides herself on creating environments where young people connect through their lived experiences, are empowered to take action, and are having a good time while contributing to systems change.
Simone joins LELAN as Office Coordinator, providing administrative and systems support in all areas of the organisation. Simone is the proud mother of two daughters, one deceased, and grew up in Adelaide on Kaurna country. Simone has extensive experience working in the community and mental health sectors, walking alongside people, and providing space to express their authentic selves. She has worked extensively in mental health, animal welfare and the arts and has had the privilege of living and working in different states across Australia.
Through her own lived experiences of mental distress and as a carer, Simone has developed a deep understanding of the importance of amplifying individual voices to bring about change and ensure that the systems intended to help do not, in practice, cause further harm. Simone has a passion for radical self-responsibility and believes systems require major reform through co design to truly serve and provide support when required.
Simone brings demonstrated experience, skills and knowledge in project and events management, community services leadership, training, and administration.
PROJECT PARTNERS BASED IN OTHER ORGANISATIONS:
The Activating Lived Experience Leadership (ALEL) Project is a partnership between LELAN and UniSA’s Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research Group. LELAN’s Executive Director, Ellie Hodges, is the Project Lead. Other members of the Project Team are:
Mark Loughhead, UniSA Senior Research Fellow (Research Lead)
Heather McIntyre, UniSA Research Assistant
Professor Nicholas Procter (UniSA Lead)
Danielle has worked for over twenty years in the health and community services sectors. Working across a range of portfolios including public health, homelessness, social housing and domestic violence, Danielle has led front line services, as well as community development and strategic policy initiatives.
Most recently Danielle has been working in the not-for-profit community mental health sector, delivering psychosocial support services across South Australia. In this role, Danielle is excited to be working in partnership with the lived experience community to co-design the design and delivery of services.
Danielle is a passionate advocate for human rights and social justice in both her personal and professional life.
Rebecca Langman is a young person with a lived experience of mental health challenges proudly living on Kaurna Land. She is the Coordinator Consumer Engagement & Lived Experience for the Central Adelaide Local Health Network’s Mental Health Clinical Program where she is the Professional Lead for Peer Specialists and Carer Consultants.
She was a member of the Youth Advisory Council at Orygen, The National Centre for Excellence in Youth Mental Health from 2017-18 and represented South Australia at the Youth Health Forum in Canberra facilitated by the Health Consumers Forum. Rebecca has worked as a Peer Specialist in hospital and community environments.
Rebecca has a Bachelor of Media Arts majoring in Performing Arts & Film/TV Production and a Bachelor of Psychological Science from the University of South Australia. Her special interests include early intervention, peer support, experiences of trauma, outdoor/adventure therapy and access to emergency care.
A firm believer in “nothing about us without us” Rebecca is excited to join the LELAN community on this journey of change with the ultimate aim of a world where mental health care is recovery-focused, strengths-based and trauma informed.
Duncan is an enthusiastic, experienced professional who has provided successful PR and Media Advisory solutions for over thirty years. His career has traditionally been focused on the private sector but has also included significant time in Local Government and Health Consumer advocacy.
However, his own personal lived experience of being someone over 50 years old, with qualifications, a long career in professional services, being a Veteran with Military Service related PTSD, unemployment, addiction, housing stress, and homelessness has played a big part in how he now views life and his place in the world.
His interests & expertise now include participatory Systemic and Interpersonal Advocacy, empowering collective impact, related social innovation, and maintaining sustainable support for an ever-growing community of people in need.
Currently working as, the Media Coordinator for Anti Poverty Network SA, he has been astonished by just how broken the system is and how far it has to go to provide those most in need of basic humanitarian needs, something which is much more than a roof over your head!
He believes in the power of the lived experience community to co-design the delivery of these services.
He is also very aware of the societal elephant in the room; the rise of young Veterans’ homelessness and suicide, and the difficulties involved in getting political traction in the creation of not only a Royal Commission, but finding a solution and is actively involved with Veterans’ Support.
The ability to work with an organisation that helps the people it is meant to help means that the possibility of being involved with the sector from within to at least assist in the process of solving these problems is very attractive to him and he is looking forward to being a part of LELAN.
Brooke is a lived experiences leader who is passionate about making lasting systems change. Brooke has been actively involved in various lived experience representative roles including peer work across Queensland and South Australia for around 13 years now.
Brooke has experienced first hand being disempowered, having her rights violated and feeling totally marginalised. This is why Brooke is passionate about systems advocacy, working to improve and change the systems that cause this harm and distress daily. Brooke believes that no one persons voice will be able to create the changes that are necessary, and that it is as a collective voice that we will influence the biggest change.
Brooke strongly believes in upskilling and supporting the community to be able to effectively advocate for themselves and ensure that their human rights are not being violated by the systems we interact with.
Brett has had a varied working career including jobs as a charter boat deckhand, Hydrographic Surveyor, gravedigger, and a Beneficiary advocate. For the past 30 years he has worked in the health field including 20 years in the Mental Health Sector.
Brett has a Diploma of Nursing, Post Graduate Diploma of Community Services Management and a Bachelor of Applied Management
His lived experience has included two extended breaks from his profession to deal with his mental health challenges. Brett credits the power of peer support as fundamental to his recovery both during these periods and as an ongoing source of inspiration and support.
Brett is passionate about the provision of support to people by a lived experience workforce at the point of delivery and reshaping the sector to have lived experience at all levels of organisations providing mental health services.
He is committed to placing the person and their rights at the center and actively working to change the system to ensure this is a reality not a slogan.
Stephanie Touzeau brings many years of lived experience accessing alcohol and other drugs services, the LGBTIQ+ community and caring for family members who live with a disability and mental health issues.
Her desire to use her lived experience to improve service outcomes for others, led her to become involved with LELAN. She been involved in the co- planning, co-design, co-facilitation, and co- evaluation of the LEDGE project. She continues to be involved as a member of the LEDGE program advisory group and as a co-chair of (LERN) lived experience reflection network set up as a Lex/advocacy support group.
Kat (pronouns they/them) has been working in Lived Experience roles (paid and unpaid) for over a decade, and in this time has balanced this work with study, creative pursuits and activism. Their lived experience is varied and holds great importance to them – they have succeeded because of the things they have lived through, not despite it. Their work with their community has centred around amplifying voices and improving how our work impacts systems by building relationships that allow for curiosity and gentle challenging while reducing power dynamics whenever possible.
Outside of their role with LELAN they work part time with a NGO in a lived experience leadership position, perform in burlesque shows for fun and are a devoted dog parent to Stanley, a 48kg Mastiff cross who sleeps on the bed (photos available upon request).