17 October 2022

Kristy Lehmann, Community Peer Worker at Life Without Barriers, is a nominee for the 2022 Lived Experience Workforce Awards!

Close up of Kirsty Lehmann who has long blonde hair and is wearing a grey top and a pink scarf.

The Lived Experience Workforce Awards, delivered by the Mental Health Coalition of South Australia during Mental Health Month, celebrate the outstanding achievements of people with mental health Lived Experience roles in South Australia.

We are proud to announce that Kristy Lehmann, Community Peer Worker at Life Without Barriers, has received a nomination for the Lived Experience Worker award, recognising her dedication to the people she supports.

Kristy has lived experience with mental health and utilises this in her role providing direct support to people experiencing mental health challenges. She is passionate about using her experience of living with mental health challenges and the knowledge she gained during her recovery journey to support others in similar situations.

“I have lived with mental illness since my teen years before I really knew what mental illness was, so I have learnt so much over the years. I am passionate about sharing my story and how I live with mental illness,” Kirsty said.

Kirsty also appreciates the opportunity to learn from the people she supports through the differences and perspectives they bring to the peer support relationship.

“I can use what I have learnt over the years on my recovery journey to help support others in similar situations, but at the same time, I am learning through the differences we have.”

For Kirsty, the best part of the job is being a voice for those on their recovery journey when they need someone to advocate or speak up for them.

“I like to help them understand that they always deserve to be heard and can have a say in their treatment. I love seeing the people I support to develop this confidence over time.”

Another thing Kristy loves about her role is working within a team that shows her care and support.

“I really appreciate my workmates from Life Without Barriers. They are always so supportive, caring and patient.”

Her team values her willingness to draw from her Lived Experience, the way she role models living a full life and the positive impact she is having on the community in destigmatising mental health.

For anyone experiencing mental health challenges, Kirsty has an important message to share.

“Someone said to me once, ‘Kristy, you are like a bird with its wing clipped, but one day, despite this, you will soar.’

“I’ve never forgotten these words and often think about them in relation to the many stages of my life so far.

"Life is definitely hard sometimes, and some experiences stay etched in the memory forever, but that doesn’t mean they have to permanently hinder, define and keep you from soaring towards the kind of life you truly want for yourself.”

You can learn more about Community Peer Workers and the support they provide here.

Story originally published by the Mental Health Coalition of South Australia.

Mental Health services

Life Without Barriers offers a number of mental health services in select communities across Australia

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