I have over the years, contributed to cultural life through public speaking, talking about my experience of creating art and its relationship to mental health and recovery. I have worked with many organisations including SANE Australia, The Richmond Fellowship, DHS, People Like You, The Dax Collection, and of my own accord, nationally and internationally in person and on television, radio and countless interviews in many places and situations. A list of institutions in logo format is below.
Agnes NieuwenhuizenManager, Australian Centre for Youth Literature-State Library of Victoria
The Australian Centre for Youth Literature presents a large annual calendar of events to promote authors, books and a love of reading. The sessions are mostly thematic and in 2003 we presented a series titled: THE WHOLE STORY. We invited four authors each of whom wrote non-fiction of various types.
Over two days the authors spoke to about 500 hundred teenagers in three sessions and then to about 100 professionals in a regular evening event.
Ross Johnstone-Development Manager
Mental Health Research Institute (MHRI)
Richard McLean first became known to the Mental Health Research Institute following the publication of his book "Recovered not Cured".
We contacted him and asked if he would give a talk to our research staff as part of our regular lunch time seminar series. He readily agreed and spoke about his experiences as a person with mental illness and who had used cannabis. His talk, presented in a natural style and demonstrating a high level of insight into his illness was very well received.
We received very positive feed back from both laboratory and clinical researchers. The Manager of our Collaborative Therapy Unit, which has a research project focussed on mental illness and substance use, described Richards' presentation as the best personal account she had ever heard.
Richard also spoke at our request to the National Cannabis & Mental Illness Conference held in Melbourne in August 2004 and attended by researchers and clinicians from around Australia. Again, his presentation was interesting, informative and entertaining. Richard has a lot to offer people who have an interest in the field of mental illness and substance use, his practical, down to earth style and personal experiences provides a unique perspective to this challenging topic.
Victoria Curriculum Authority
Richard McLean gave a powerful and moving presentation to Curriculum Managers and educational writers of The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority at the Cunningham Dax Collection in Parkville.
Richard generously offered his personal anecdotes and good humor to support the sharing of his experiences; in education, as a contemporary artist and writer and with regards to the personal impact of mental health issues and marginalized stereotyping.
Richard's presentation was both engaging and highly informative, offering a deep and personal insight into the possible difficulties that may confront young people with mental health issues in educational environments.
Richard thoroughly impressed his audience with a slide show of his intriguing artworks and art based projects which formed the basis of an open question and answer session. The knowledge Richard imparted was illuminating and offered a greater awareness for the VCAA.
Richard's authenticity and openness contributed considerably towards creating a comfortable environment that supported valuable dialogue for all that were present.
On behalf of the VCAA, I would like to thank and acknowledge Richard for the courage and commitment he demonstrated in presenting such highly personal content in support and advocacy for those suffering with mental health issues.
Cindy Neilsen Carer Advocate - Dubbo, NSW
On behalf of Carer Assist Dubbo, the carers, families and friends of people living with mental illness in Dubbo and the Macquarie region of New South Wales, I wish to express our sincere thanks to Richard McLean of Melbourne, Victoria, for accepting an invitation to be guest speaker at our Mental Health Awareness Evening held in Dubbo during National Mental Health Week in October 2005.
Brad Green, Baw Baw youth Network.Brad Green, Baw Baw youth Network.
Richard McLean was a guest speaker at the Baw Baw Youth Network this year. He gave a fascinating and informative presentation to over 40 local agencies and education representatives.
The response was amazing with all workers remarking that the insight and personal account made them rethink their work and approach with young people.
I recommend Richard to any organisation.
He was able to link personal experience, art and music in an entertaining but insightful presentation.
Many members of the network have asked Richard to speak at other networks and individual organisations.
Richard Mc Lean’s presentation was inspiring and provided us with insight into how he managed and still manages his symptoms of Schizophrenia.
We were taken on a journey through Richard’s perception of his thoughts, feelings and behaviours that were so real to him while unknowingly battling Schizophrenia.
Richard shared his art works with us and provided us with a detailed description of the representation of each picture and how they reflected his experiences of psychosis.The illustrations alone gave us a glimpse of how confused and chaotic Richard’s thoughts may have been. Richard’s art works are brilliant and inspired group members to use art as a way of expressing themselves.
Richard facilitated a discussion with the group to explore their available resources to assist them in maintaining good mental health, suggestions included: good support networks (family, friends, GP, case manager, psychiatrist and key worker), stress management, relaxation techniques, art, coping skills, medication, music and walking.
Richard has provided the group with a light at the end of the tunnel so to speak, in that the presentation was ‘Recovery focused’ and motivational and highlighted the importance that goals can be achieved.
We thank Richard for sharing his story with us and wish him luck in his future endeavours.
Rebecca Daly, Thomas Embling Hospital, (Forensicare), Fairfield, Melbourne.
Richard McLean was a breath of fresh air and inspiration to the patients at Thomas Embling, connecting with his audience in a way that very few others are able.
Richard's innate creativity combined with first-hand experience of the nightmare of mental illness, grant him the capacity to speak with an inspired but personable voice that is expert but human, sharing his experiences and insights in an honest, sometimes raw, sometimes comical and always engaging fashion.
His story inspires consumers and carers alike to reinvest in a hope for recovery, challenging the uninformed, the intolerant and the prevalent stigmas to take a fresh look at the modern day epidemic of mental illness.
Marni Luxmoore Tracey Turner Occupational Therapist Clinical Psychologist EPPIC
In 2004 Richard McLean kindly volunteered to do two presentations for the Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre (EPPIC).
These presentations involved Richard speaking for an hour to a group of young people who were in the recovery phase of psychosis.
Richard was an incredibly engaging speaker who openly and appropriately shared his experience and knowledge of mental illness.
Feedback from the young people was overwhelmingly positive. It was clear that they could connect with his experience and valued his insights into the issues surrounding drugs and alcohol, stigma and relapse.
Clients valued his words because they stemmed from lived experience and participants described feeling a strong sense of hope after listening to Richard's journey through mental illness.
From our contact with Richard, it is clear he has the personality and skill that would be required to work in the area of consumer consultancy/advocacy and we would have no hesitation in recommending Richard for such a position.
Kaylee MacKenzie (Bright Secondary College).
The kids haven't stopped nagging me about buying his two books! (unheard of in all my years of teaching) One student even traipsed around every bookshop in Albury looking for one. In a low key way (without the standard spiel they often hear from so called motivational speakers) he was inspiring and did more to crash down many of their beliefs about people with a mental illness in 30 minutes, than I could have in weeks of 'teaching'.