My name is Louise Starr. The photo is me and my daughter together. I am a single mother and both myself and my daughter and live with Complex PTSD and psychosis. Our lives are the reason behind everything I do in the mental health space. My journey started when she was 10 and I was struggling as a single parent and accessed support to help us lead a better life and gain some skills. Throughout a year of support with a woman and mentor, I resonated with her personal experiences of hearing voices. It taught me to build skills such as setting limits and taking small steps towards gaining an education. I studied at Southern Cross University and completed a Diploma In Community Recovery. This was a course designed for Indigenous Healing based on Dadirri and Circles of Wellbeing to overcome and break the cycle of Inter-Generational Trauma. I was recruited to work with parents and share my recovery in the Gold Coast's first Peer Support Program, which was a life changing experience for me. I completed the Intentional Peer Support Program and developed a deeper understanding of how to share Lived Experience purposefully to mutually learn and share and to walk alongside people who were accessing this program.
Twelve years later and I have continued to undertake studies in Cert IV Peer Support and Mental Health, a Cert IV in Training and Assessment and even did the Lifeline Telephone Crisis Counselling Training. I continue to seek out new ways to learn and grow as a person in the space of Lived Experience roles, having worked in Aged Care, Youth and Foster Care, Residential Disability Homes and within the hospital system across Child and Youth Inpatient, Early Psychosis, Perinatal Mental Health and other programs.
I am currently establishing a registered National Disability Insurance Scheme Registered business and hope to offer meaningful roles and opportunities in this space for people to gain on the job experience while studying or building their own career trajectories in mental health service design, delivery and improvement. I have proudly collaborated in many projects with key stakeholders in QLD and Nationally to continue to retain the integrity of future Lived Experience training, services in Suicide and to create some catalyst for this workforce to be a core component of recovery-orientated services, designed for and by people who access mental health services. I am a believer in the innate desire everybody has to become well and learn ways to help themselves so they feel ownership and control and confidence to contribute to their care planning and towards leading meaningful lives around their own unique recovery and aspirational goals that empower them in their own self knowledge and ability to be the experts in their lives and what works best for them as unique beings and to have self-mastery over their futures and in their daily lives.
I aim to include this in my life in a way that continues to support my intuitive self-care practices and to share this with the right people at the right time, and envisage Personal Medicine being incorporated into lived experience service delivery as well as my own business, training and co-design projects at a systemic level. I thoroughly enjoy this new way of talking and thinking about recovery and the tools we are all getting for ourselves as driver's of our own recovery outcomes and to integrate it with future career opportunities. It is a great asset to address gaps in mental health and wellbeing practices. The more I use my Personal Medicine, the better I am becoming as seeing I am the change I need. My favourite Personal Medicine is being by the sea, on the beach and feeling connected to nature as it melsts away my stressors and I feel engaged and alive and love swimming in the sea and walking along the beach with my dogs. I find this helps me focus on beauty and I'm able to feel relaxed, rejuvenated and take time for myself to enjoy this and be in the moment, not worried and stressed all the time. I can be a worry wort and ruminate about problems which is a pattern I am working hard to change that is unhealthy and adds to my anxiety and distress un-necessarily. It's easy to slip back into over thinking things outside my control which can keep me feeling stressed and realising the importance of gratitude and my ability to let thoughts come and go without feeling the full emotions they bring up that increase my anxiety if I don't practice being mindful and staying grounded and enjoying the moment I'm currently in and the people around me and all the gifts life has blessed me with. (see below).