Building capacity in South Eastern Sydney Mental Health for the LGBTIQA+ community through co-production


South Eastern Sydney Recovery College is a pioneering educational initiative in Australia, focused on learning and growth for better mental health. The College offers comprehensive education and training programs, developed and delivered by people with a lived experience of mental distress and mental health professionals. It is open to people who have a lived experience of mental distress, our loved ones, our college partners and all staff of South Eastern Sydney Local Health District (SESLHD). In 2017, we co-developed and co-facilitated a new course called, ‘Discrimination, Marginalisation and LGBTIQ Mental Health‰’. This 3 hour course explored the links between homophobia, transphobia and minority stress. By bringing together the experiences of a mental health clinician and peer, both of whom are from the LGBTIQA+ community, the course created an opportunity for cross-sector capacity building. This presentation will explore how recovery-oriented education for social change in the mental health sector builds capacity through: ‰

  • Providing a rare opportunity in the mental health system to explore a political explanatory framework for distress; ‰
  • Recognising the impact of historical and current systemic injustices; and ‰
  • Providing a roadmap for LGBTIQA+ sensitive practice in mental health services.

Routinely offering appropriate diverse sexuality, sex and gender courses like this is one way that SESLHD is honouring our obligations under the ‰National Framework for Recovery-Oriented Mental Health Services‰ (2013). This Framework mandates mental health services to respond to LGBTIQA+ people, their families of choice, and communities.


Sam Stott |

Sam Stott has been working in health education, research, policy and advocacy roles for over 20 years. Sam is passionate about transformative learning and adult education for social change. She is a Peer Educator and the Education Coordinator with the South Eastern Sydney Recovery College. 

William Wolfenden

William Wolfenden has 4 years experience working as an occupational therapist in Mental Health across community and inpatient services specialising in psycho-social rehabilitation for youth and adults consumers, with a keen interest in LQBTIQA+ health. He endeavours to constantly work towards rehabilitation principles such as consumed-focused, strengths focused and goal-focused recovery.