Curiosity, Compassion and Care

Date published:

A report on people’s lived experience of distress and mental ill-health in Australia.

Every journey is personal, but collectively the knowledge of people who have lived experience of distress and mental ill-health provides unique insights that must shape future action. 

In Australia, we often cite statistics to highlight the scale and impact of mental ill-health and often hear from researchers, clinicians and policy makers about the design and delivery of the mental health system. But to truly design services and supports that are effective, we must understand people’s experiences of them. These experiences provide an important opportunity to reform our approach based on what people need to live hopeful, connected and contributing lives.  

Written by Everymind, this report is a plain language translation of five research studies conducted by the University of New England. It helps us to better understand how people in Australia experience distress and mental ill-health and what services and supports they have found helpful and unhelpful. 

 “[I wanted] less diagnosis, more curiosity, compassion and care about what environmental and social problems were causing presentation of symptoms” 

- Lived experience perspective

We acknowledge and thank everyone who has contributed to the development of this report through sharing their experiences as part of the consultation, and those who agreed to have their words included throughout the report. We would also like to thank Professor Myfanwy Maple and Sarah Wayland from the University of New England, and Dr Jaelea Skehan OAM from Everymind, for their leadership on this report. 

  • Consumer & carers
  • Lived experience

Acknowledgement of Country

The Commission acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands throughout Australia.
We pay our respects to their clans, and to the elders, past and present, and acknowledge their continuing connection to land, sea and community.


The Commission is committed to embracing diversity and eliminating all forms of discrimination in the provision of health services. The Commission welcomes all people irrespective of ethnicity, lifestyle choice, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lived Experience

We acknowledge the individual and collective contributions of those with a lived and living experience of mental ill-health and suicide, and those who love, have loved and care for them. Each person’s journey is unique and a valued contribution to Australia’s commitment to mental health suicide prevention systems reform.