Go Back Up

Beyond Participation: My Journey to Youth Lived Experience Leadership

This presentation is a call for empathy and action.

Emily started volunteering in lived experience spaces at age 12. Now, 15 years later, they have been privileged to work as a lived experience leader across the child and youth mental health sector. In this presentation, Emily will share key lessons from their journey, exploring how we can move beyond mere “participation” and achieve “lived experience leadership.”

Emily will explore the leadership roles that defined their journey, including:

  • Lived Experience Lead, Royal Children's Hospital
  • Metaverse Project Manager, Meta and Project Rockit
  • Board Director, Midsumma
  • Committee of Management, Centre for Multicultural Youth
  • Co-Chair, Collaborative Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • For each of these, they will explore the strengths and challenges that helped and hindered lived experience leadership.

This presentation also delves into the complexities of allyship, privilege, and positionality. Emily explores the importance of not only “standing together” with young leaders, but more importantly, knowing when and how to “step back.” Emily emphasises the importance of leveraging privilege and practising humility, giving tips on how allies can amplify lived experience voices, without inadvertently speaking over them.

Through sharing their lived, living, and professional experiences, Emily offers a unique opportunity to engage in this critical conversation and reflect on our collective responsibility to create a child and youth mental health system where there is nothing about us, without us.

  • Emily-Unity-Photo-web

    Emily Unity

    Lived Experience Lead, Board Director, Consultant, Emily Unity