2 April 2024

The inaugural winner of the Mind Stratford Scholarship is a psych survivor who has developed an independent peer support group to talk about suicide in ways that aren't welcome or safe elsewhere.

Mush McLoughlan (they/them) was selected from over 70 applicants for the scholarship, which Mind Australia developed to honour lived experience pioneer Anthony Stratford’s immense contribution to the international lived experience movement and to continue his legacy. 

Each year the $10,000 scholarship will support an emerging Peer leader in Australia to complete a 12-month project that supports the mental health and wellbeing of people in their own and the broader community. 

Mush has had a long history of engagement with a variety of mental health services. Mush will use the scholarship to explore alternative peer responses to suicide and how these can be practiced through peer community building and knowledge sharing.

“I no longer access the mental health system,” Mush said. “My experiences with the system, particularly crisis and suicide preventions services, have highlighted the harm coercive and pathologising approaches have for many people. It has shown me the need for radically different approaches and sparked my passion for this work."        

Katie Larsen said Mush’s project will engage leaders across diverse communities locally and internationally and build training in alternative suicide models. 

“The selection panel was impressed by the peer supervision, mentoring and leadership components of this application.”

Mind CEO Gill Callister said The Stratford Scholarship will give energy to new and important ideas and developments and support a platform for the next wave of leaders to inform the discussion and direction.

“At Mind, we wholeheartedly value and champion lived and living experience in all aspects of what we do. It is essential to ensure human rights and justice-informed approaches are central to how we work. We recognise the insight, resilience, and unique knowledge that individuals with lived experience bring,” she said. 

The Scholarship was announced at Mind’s inaugural Stratford Lecture, which brought together nearly 200 lived experience advocates and supporters – at Melbourne’s Wheeler Centre and livestreamed nationally – to celebrate excellence in lived experience leadership and its capacity to challenge and change how the mental health system functions.

Guest speaker Ellie Hodges gave an impassioned lecture about the challenges of lived experience leadership. 

Watch the full Stratford Lecture event here

Find out more about lived experience pioneer Anthony Stratford’s legacy 

Media contacts

Mind Australia Marketing and Communications Manager Max McLean: [email protected]  or 0497 333 545 (Monday - Thursday)

Mind Australia Senior Media Advisor Keagan Ryan: [email protected] or 0474 000 433 (Friday)