Solutions to employee mental health issues lay in lived experience: RMIT expert available for comment

Solutions to employee mental health issues lay in lived experience: RMIT expert available for comment

Experts from RMIT University comment on how lived experience roles can lead to improved mental health in the workplace.

Lena Wang, Senior Lecturer College of Business and Law (0450 710 176 or

Topics: employee wellbeing, human resource management, lived experience 

“Employees’ mental health challenges are an increasingly pressing issue and there is a deeply ingrained stigma attached to people with mental health challenges.” 

“There are significant values to employing designated lived experience roles as they can help change people’s perspective about mental health challenges, and accordingly help to change workplace culture.” 

“Current practices that organisations have adopted, such as Employee Assistance Programs and mental health training, do not offer a sufficient solution to address the most fundamental issue, which is the systematic stigmatisation of individuals with mental health issues.” 

“We’ve seen the concept of lived experience being applied in other industries, such as in mining, construction and energy sectors, which successfully demonstrate how peer support roles can enhance workforce mental health.”

“These programs have been shown to increase employees’ awareness about mental health challenges, reduce stigma, and enhance their knowledge about when and how to seek help.” 

“Having someone in the organisation purposefully employed because of their mental health challenges sends a very strong signal to the rest of the workforce – that mental health challenges are not something to be afraid of, nor to be concealed.”

“Employing lived experience roles may just be the solution we need to change this culture and to address the mental health crisis that our society is facing today.”

Dr Ying (Lena) Wang is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Management and a current Co-Director of Centre for People, Organisation and Work (CPOW). Specialising in organisational psychology, Lena’s research focuses on understanding and fostering positive individual attributes and behaviours at work; and advancing organisational diversity and inclusion.  

Louise Byrne, Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow (  

Topics: lived experience, mental health

“Individuals holding these roles have been diagnosed with mental health issues, have gone through a period of healing, and are now employed to use their perspectives, skills and understanding to help others having challenges.” 

“Introducing lived experience roles into your organisation is not as simple as giving someone a new title and responsibilities and hoping that will have an impact.” 

“Creating meaningful and clear roles is crucial to exert impact on the rest of the workforce. If this isn’t achieved, lived experience roles can end up being tokenistic.”

“Lived experience roles only succeed when leaders are personally committed to their workforce’s mental health. This is especially important when the organisation’s existing culture is less supportive of mental health initiatives.”

Dr Louise Byrne is a Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow at RMIT. Louise is recognised internationally as a thought leader in the area of Lived Experience workforce development. Louise has led arguably the most comprehensive program of research on Lived Experience workforce development globally and has been awarded several times for outstanding contributions to research and teaching, held expert/advisory roles with State and National Mental Health Commissions and led policy development at State and National levels.


Interviews: Lena Wang, 0450 710 176 or and Louise Byrne,

General media enquiries: RMIT Communications, 0439 704 077 or

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