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.
Ashlynn believes in the collective commitment to justice-doing to impact societal contexts of oppression and suffering. As an advocate for human rights, Ashlynn has worked with asylum seekers and refugees in the area of rehabilitation and sustainable trauma focused work for almost a decade.
She also brings front-line experience with individuals living on the margins who are affected by the daily grind of intergenerational poverty and disenfranchisement. Ashlynn holds firm in the vision of equitable access to mental care provision, and the wholistic approach to centering the person and validating their experience in all interactions.
Originally from Ireland, Ashlynn has an Honours Degree in Sociology, and a Graduate Diploma in Gender Studies. She has trained in Narrative Therapy at Dulwich Centre, is a yoga teacher and has seen the personal benefit of a meditation practice to support her personal Lived Experience and its ongoing recovery.
Ashlynn is delighted to be a part of the LELAN team and anticipates the deployment of systemic changes that will make it possible for the positioning of lived experience as an intrinsic part of decision-making process within all aspects of governance.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Em has been working in the youth sector for the last 15 years designing and facilitating empowerment, leadership and therapeutic programs. Complimented by her outdoor education background Em enjoys encouraging participants to recognise their inner strength, try new things, connect to nature and gain skills in mindfulness.
Drawing on her own lived experience and those of the young people she works with Em has contributed to a number of co-design initiatives, government and non-government consultations and has previously held a number of board positions.
Em passionately believes in hearing, sharing, supporting and advocating for people with a lived experience and those affected, caring for and working with to create change and a better understanding. Em continues to elevate the voice of younger generations, vulnerable children and young people within the child protection and youth justice systems to organisations and the government sector.