“ 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.”
JAMES GREENFIELD | SUPPORT COORDINATOR - JOB - CO
'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 !'
RESHMA S | SUPPORT CO-ORDINATOR | ME-WELL
Rich is a friendly and empathetic peer worker and highly talented artist.'
ALANAH S - ARTS THERAPIST
'It’s been a privilege to work alongside you Rich, even for this short time. All the best with your endeavours and the rest.'
MARGARITA WILSON - SUPPORT COORDINATOR | ME-WELL
'Rich is a good guy with plenty of insight and solutions to my mental health problems.'
PETER R - CLIENT
'Rich is a very professional support worker. he is good with people. he is a hard worker. I recommend him to do job. Yours,Michael F
MICHAEL F - LONG TERM CLIENT
Hi Rich I want to tell you something you have be a very good support worker towards me. I'm going to do my best not to stuff up because I do need your support in things in life.
MICHAEL F - LONG TERM CLIENT
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.
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.
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. 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'.
BARBARA HOCKING REFERENCE:
I have known Richard for many years through his involvement with SANE Australia, the national national charity. SANE works for a better life for all people affected by mental illness through education and support, applied research and campaigning for improved services and attitudes.
Richard is a talented and successful artist, writer and speaker. The book Recovered, not cured: A journey through schizophrenia, written and illustrated by Richard, was awarded SANE Book of the Year in 2004. From that time until recently, he has contributed to art exhibitions such as the For Matthew and Others exhibition, held in NSW and Victoria, and has been an active and valued member of the SANE Speakers program.
SANE Speakers are people affected by mental illness who present the human face of the illness and reduce the associated stigma - which many say is as bad as the symptoms of the illness itself. Richard’s involvement with SANE’s media stories, education and advocacy work has helped raise awareness of mental illness and its impact, while at the same time demonstrating and celebrating the contributions people with mental illness make to their communities. In particular, Richard has contributed to a SANE Speaking from experience DVD and has been involved with educating federal parliamentarians at Parliament House in Canberra. He is always thoughtful and insightful about his contributions.
Richard’s passion and commitment, combined with his impressive communication skills and great good humour, mean he has been a valued member of SANE’s team.