portrait copy.JPG

G'Day! I'm Rich McLean, and I am a registered NDIS therapeutic support worker for marginalised people with mental health and related issues in Melbourne, Australia.


I bring to my role the experience of being an artist, human rights awarded autobiographer, illustrator, completed a PhD in 2020 and have had many years of experience in the field of public advocacy for mental health recovery.


It is my privilege to help marginalised people with mental health or other concerns and life challenges - from all faiths, sexualities, ages and backgrounds ...to have their best possible life!

I do this with my unique modality of 'co-creating' a life together by spending quality time visualising your ideas in a creative way that is part 'peer support' part 'moral support' part 'therapeutic support', and the ones I connect with will have a 'professional mate' to confidentially confide in.

We will discover and articulate your 'currencies', (faith, money, security, activity, even getting out of bed, drawing, line dancing, whatever it is), and I will work intensively with you from eight to twelve weeks in which time we will measure defined outcomes leading your a happier life.

It is all delivered with compassion, integrity, empathy and a damn good dose of humour!

If you or your NDIS client needs a friendly, confidential, extremely experienced advocate & recovery expert to help you; I may be your perfect match!


 “ As a Support Coordinator or Case Manager, it is difficult to find workers or therapists with the character and skills to work with complex clients. My client, “T”, lives an isolated life, experiencing the stigma of mental health and the restrictions of the psychiatric system. In a short time, Rich has been able to build trust and rapport with “T”, supporting him to talk openly about his challenges and feel hope that he can build the skills to meet his challenges. To hear this from “T” also gives me hope that we can achieve a supported and inclusive community. I would recommend Rich as someone who’s values and skills enable effective peer support and therapeutic service.” 

(Wanted to remain un-named) SUPPORT CO ORDINATOR |

'I was so relieved when my colleague recommended Rich to me. As a support coordinator, it is my responsibility to make sure my clients receive the best services from the right person to help in their journey towards recovery and Rich was most definitely the correct person for my client. My client was equally happy and thankful to Rich for the help he has provided thus far and I am sure she will benefit from the services Rich provides. Rich works in a very therapeutic environment, providing art therapy, life coaching and mental health peer support work. This is the sort of balance and experience workers need in order for clients to be able to engage with them on a deeper level. We definitely need more individuals like Rich in this field. Thank you Rich for your hard work and commitment !' 

Reading a Book

Rich has listen to me about my life.

Rich has made me confident to help and justice.

Today I feel not afraid to open up and I feel a bit happening. I glad that some-one who has taken the time to listen to me. because Rich he has had time to listen to me.

Michael F

'It’s been a privilege to work alongside you Rich, even for this short time. All the best with your endeavours and the rest.'

Support Co-Ordinator,


Rich is a friendly and empathetic peer worker and highly talented artist.'

Alanah S, Art Therapist

'Rich is a good guy with plenty of insight and solutions to my mental health problems.'

Peter R, Client



in CREATIVE therapy, trust & IN confidence.

My passion as a therapist and therapeutic support and psychosocial peer worker are to help people, and I do that in multi-layered ways: I get to know the person by spending quality time within the boundaries of their life. I am unlike other therapists in this regard in that I am a 'professional friend', who is available for emergencies if I am available and where possible; when I take you on as a client, you, your happiness and best life are my priority. Unlike other therapists I do not want to see you forever - I aim to have measurable outcomes with you and your happiness/goals in 6-8 one hourly weekly sessions.

Firstly, I don't care so much for your label; to me, you are a sentient being deserving of compassionate care and understanding & to be heard and acknowledged.

I aim to kick start your life and for you to add value to your life by realising who we are, and celebrating the little victories.  I am not here to 'label' you with a diagnosis, although this can sometimes be helpful to know what you have been 'labelled' with. I am not here to give you drugs, and I don't interfere with that from your other supports.

More - so, I holistically listen to your story, value your pain and challenging experiences and utilise an objective view from my therapeutic perspective, allowing you to make sense of your complex life experiences and symptoms, in order for you to understand them; then 'supercharge' your goals and happiness in a way gentle to you and that you are capable of.

It is all delivered with kindness &
a good dose of humour!

As an 'arts-life-coach' every one of my clients receives their personalised sketch and note-book that we both co-create together, week after week, noting down graphs and note-taking, utilising a visual medium which is powerful and effective in our realisations of the self and our goals.

Your workbook is covered very much at your own pace and you don't need to be able to draw or be an artist to participate in this type of therapy with me!

Some weeks you may simply want to chat and have a coffee or a meal and that is absolutely fine, other weeks we may hit a sweet spot and really take advantage of the powerful moment and it is in these times I am malleable with my time as a therapist. With you as my priority, I would not dare halt a successful session or meeting if we can get great work done!

An assessment of all spheres and currencies of your life leads each individuals journey in goals gratitude and ultimately happiness.

Importantly we work together to be aware of any area you may have a deficit in, and we wildly celebrate your achievements and your strengths in the present tense, staying in moments of improvement and success and amplifying them to stitch together a positive narrative week to week.

I receive great joy in seeing people on their path - flying their own spaceship - with gratitude, confidence and my intentions are to allow you to allow yourself the permission to enjoy life with meaning and purpose; and have fun exploring and discovering.

I am a unique kind of therapeutic support probably unlike those you have been in contact with before.


Drawing all my experience and my own strengths I deliver a modality of therapy that is empathic intuitive and unique and often utilises your faith and belief systems which in most cases can be pivotal to your success.


Be confident with years of experience...


I have written for, been featured in, spoken for, or worked for the following organisations & institutions:


I was interviewed for medium.com by Rebecca Chamaa for an article on my life and work 'Bright Lights and Dark Corners'


I spoke in Australian parliament with SANE Australia to advocate for change when people call up their local council in distress with a loved one suffering from an episode. An article was published in 'The Australian', under the headline, 'Mental Health hits the Political Frontline', but they reneged to report that I also advocated for refugees literally trying to bury themselves alive.

20060403-Gasworks Logo bw big

I exhibited at Gasworks in 2012 with a solo show 'Return from pessimism' and also in 2013 with a multimedia installation from my Masters of Education.


I have spoken at The Royal Melbourne Hospital on various topics, including the risks of cannabis and psychosis, and also through my fundraising work with my book, 'Grogan the Monster in... What Do You Love?', with 25% of proceeds benefiting the banksia Unit, Child and Adolescent Mental Health.


I did a Master of Education at Victoria University, then was awarded a scholarship to go on and do my Dr of Philosophy. I was extremely grateful and I have just found out I passed the PhD subject to changes.


I was interviewed on JJJ many times, on 'hack' with Robbie Buck, and Rachel Kerr on a special on recovery in mental health.


I was invited by SBS to fly up to Sydney and speak about Drugs and mental health with Jenny brocky. The show was live - and unfortunately I was set up. I wanted to talk to them about the risks of marijuana and psychosis and then right at the top of the show they cut from a poor man whose child had died from a drug overdose to me - essentially putting me on the spot and shaming me, making me look bad.


I was interviewed for 'The Good Men project' by Naomi Fryers, with her article, 'Follow Your Passions to Make Life Bearable and Find Your True Authentic Self' I also wrote an article for my PhD titled 'Giving Up the Fags: A Self-Reflexive Speech on Critical Auto-ethnography About the Shame of Growing up Gay/Sexual Abuse' and it was published also on TGMP


I spoke with over 500 young people about mental health recovery when my autobiography was published, and also taught a session for the more interested students on articulating ideas inn writing.


I worked for Royal Melbourne Hospital for some time and often went to Forensicare to comment on clients art practices and advocate for recovery.


I spoke on RRR about 'Art & Mental Illness, (Skillness!), with Richard Watts for Smart Arts.

richmond fellowship logo

I have done many speeches and group activities for The Richmond Fellowship, both in Melbourne, to Warnambool.


I donated many works to the then Cunningham Dax Collection, which is now The Dax Centre. The documentary on my life and art was made possible by The Dax Centre.


I was a 'SANE speaker', and did many talks for them. I was also awarded SANE Australia's 'Book of the Year', 2003. I worked for them as an advocate and consultant.


When i worked at The dax Centre, I did a presentation to the head people at VCAA who were the people that decided what curriculum was appropriate when selecting texts and media for high school students.


I have spoken many times on the ABC, across triple J and rural radio, and my autobiography was converted to an abridged version for the 'Life Matters' program with Julie McCrossin. It was played a few times on the network because of how people were engaged with it. The Audiobook is available for free on this website.


I was featured in an edition of the international 'Clinical Psychiatry News' for my 'Visionary Art', and about non ordinary reality and creativity.


I worked for 'The Age' as a News Graphics Artist & Illustrator for nearly five years & also featured in articles and stories in my advocacy role - essentially being the news too!


I was interviewed on JOY a couple of times about my art shows and adviocacy work.


I spoke at the School of Religious and Philosophical Studies numerous times at McGill University in canada. On the panel were world renowned experts on so called 'schizophrenia', and I was so warmly received they invited me back to speak about art and psychosis to a group of people who had to read my autobiography for their course.


I did numerous talks at EPPIC with young people about drugs and mental health who were at risk of psychosis.

aaa-logo-white copy

I was interviewed by Arts Access Australia, although I question the term 'disability. It may actually be 'ability', and my 'mental illness', is perhaps my 'mental skillness.'

midsumma final corp colour

I have linked in with Midsumma Gay and lesbian festival on a number of occasions.

CBCA_full logo_blue_tagline_532x318

I was linked to the childrens book council through my work with The State Library of Victoria.


I was a News graphics Artist and Illustrator for 'The Age' newspaper for nearly five years. During and after my time there I was often the topic of the news instead of creating the visuals for it.


I was interviewed by 'The Makers of melbourne', who wrote: 'Richard McLean is a total surprise package. An artist cloaked in the outer shell of a man of otherwise ordinary appearance. Yet the very word – ordinary – is at stark odds with the voice expressed in Richard’s visual and written work.'


I was awarded a 'Highly Commended non-fiction' for my autobiography 'Recovered, Not Cured, a journey through schizophrenia.'

Banner logo full colour Kingston logo

I worked closely with city of Kingston with my 2010 exhibition 'Back to basics', at Morabbin Town hall. The catalogue from that show can be found on this site.


I did a Bachelor of Fine Art at Victorian College for the Arts


I was interviewed on 2SM by Tricia Duffield


I was interviewed on 'Nightline' by Phillip Brady & Bruce Mansfield


I performed a talk at baw Baw youth Network.


Carers NSW asked me to fly to Dubbo in outback NSW where I gave a speech in the town hall.


My books can be researched at The State Library of Victoria.


I wrote for the Huffington Post in: 'Happiness Advice From an Artist Living With Schizophrenia', although having researc hed it throuroughly in my PhD I do not believe the term is factual and the label actually harms people. I see 'non-ordinary-reality', through a holistic shamanistic lens.


My book: 'Grogan the Monster in... What Do You Love?', gives 25% of profits and royalties directly to The banksia Unit for Child and Adolescent mental health at The Royal Children's Hospital. At my book launch in Footscray I raised over $1000 for them - the first fundraiser the centre had had.


I was interviewed by James Valentine

Reuters TV logo vertical

Video interview with Frankie Fathers for reuters.


I did many presentations and group chats to people at Orygen in Parkville who were at risk of psychosis. It was attached to the Mental health research Centre where I also regurlarly spoke with groups of year 11 and 12 students.


I worked as a news graphics Artist and Illustrator for 'The Herald Sun', and later they were utterly slanderous towards me-by publishing my self reflexive account of my experience with schizophrenia - which was a triumphant story of recovery - with the derogatory and slanderous headline of 'MY DESCENT INTO MADNESS.' I was at The Age by then - and shortly after they fired me for no reason.


When I toured Montreal speaking at McGill University in Canada, I also did other talks around town. La Paragraphe Bookshop was one of these speaking opportunities.


EPPIC is a centre which supports young people at risk of psychosis and I did many talks to young people here.


I was interviewed by John Weeks


I have appeared on channel 31 a few times spreading a recovery focussed perspective


I was on Good Morning Australia twice, once with Steve leidman for the launch of my book, and the other for an exhibition i was having.


I spoke to the clients of Douglas Hospital in Montreal at the inpatients clinic.


An abridged version of my autobiography was on this program in a 5-part series. I read it in the first person, and it is free on this website.


I talked about my upcoming talk in Dubbo town hall.


Phillip Brady & Bruce Mansfield


Interviewed by Tricia Duffield


I did many talks at the MHRI to year 11 and 12 people on art and mental illness and shared my experience via art.

aaa-logo-white copy
20150417-arts access logo

Interviewed by James Valentine