The stigma of identifying as having a lived experience runs before me

Challenges for lived experience roles

Louise Byrne, Cath Roper, Brenda Happell, Kerry Reid-Searl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Lived experience practitioners can contribute to improved outcomes for people with mental illness, supplementing traditional mental health services and reducing health care costs. However, lived experience practitioners frequently face stigma and discrimination within their work roles. Aim: To understand the impact of stigma and discrimination on the effectiveness of lived experience roles from the perspective of lived experience practitioners. Method: In-depth interviews were conducted with 13 lived experience practitioners within a grounded theory study. Results: Issues of stigma and discrimination were identified as a core category of this study. Participants described stigma and discrimination so prevalent as to be considered a “normal” part of their working life. Professional isolation and attitudinal barriers from colleagues were seen to inhibit the effectiveness of lived experience roles. Conclusions: Lived experience practitioners can provide a vital contribution to stigma reduction broadly, however, the stigma and discrimination they face within work roles must be addressed to allow this contribution to be effective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-266
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Mental Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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