Alumnus leading the way for mental health support in young carers

Alumnus leading the way for mental health support in young carers

Madeleine Buchner OAM, founder and CEO of Little Dreamers, spoke with RMIT News for Mental Health Week.

Little Dreamers is a not-for-profit organisation working to improve the emotional and physical health, well-being and resilience of young carers.

They aim to reduce the prevalence of mental illness among carers through social connectedness.

Buchner graduated from the Bachelor of Business (Marketing) (Applied) in 2016 and has gone on to win the 2017 Queens Young Leader, be named in the 2019 AFR 100 Women of Influence, and OAM 2019 Young Leader Winner.

Having raised over $1.5m and supported more than 4,000 families in Australia, Little Dreamers is now an internationally recognised organisation.

RMIT Alumnus and Little Dreamers founder, Madeleine Buchner OAM. RMIT Alumnus and Little Dreamers founder, Madeleine Buchner OAM.

For mental health week, what is one thing you think everyone should be talking about?

This Mental Health week we should be normalising that mental health isn't linear. 

Managing your mental health is a journey and some weeks are easier than others. 

If you're making an active effort to support your mental health and you have a week where things don't go to plan and your strategies don't work as well as they usually do, that doesn't mean you have failed or let everyone down. 

You're still trying and that's all that matters.

What drives you in your work within the mental health space?

I believe that every child deserves a childhood. 

We are seeing more young people suffering with their own mental health than ever before and they are getting younger and younger. 

We should be creating spaces where our children and young people feel safe and supported. 

This is one of the driving factors in the work that I do at Little Dreamers.

What are some practices or routines you use to help maintain your mental health?

I am one of the worst when it comes to supporting my own mental health and this is something I am actively working on at the moment. 

I try to exercise in some form most days, I practice active mindfulness through colouring and paint by numbers and I reach out to my friends to let them know if I am having a tough day or week.

What advice would you give to someone that might be struggling with their mental wellbeing?

Reach out for help. 

It can be incredibly daunting to tell someone, even a close friend or family member, that you're struggling or just having a ‘dark day’. 

There are lots of ways to let someone know that you aren't feeling 100% yourself without asking for them to fix anything. 

Sometimes just having someone there to check in on you, or picking up the phone to talk through something can make a world of difference. It definitely does for me.

If you or someone you know needs help:


Story: Caleb Scanlon

08 October 2020


08 October 2020


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RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.