My life changed in 2008 when my 19-year old brother died. I was 21 years old and had no idea of how to deal with the ripple effect of mental illness, suicide or how we could even try to cope as a family. Fast forward to 2016 and a lot has happened and this is just the beginning of the journey!
I wrote a book
As part of my healing process, I wrote a book on my “lived experience” called –“Trust – Surviving the Ripple Effect of Suicide”, which explains what happened in our family – our “lived experience”. It was my first attempt to share our experience with other families who’d been through a similar tragic experience.
I started volunteering
I then started volunteering with mental health organisations to try make a difference – Lifeline WA, Inspire Foundation and Reach Out were just a few.
I decided to fully commit
I needed to do more, so I started my Degree in Youth Work (2013) and joined a big Non-For-Profit organisation as a Mental Health worker & team leader.
The Lived Experience Leadership Group
In 2014 I was invited to become one of eight leaders on the Suicide Prevention Australia, Lived Experience Leadership Group.
Public Speaking, Workshops and Online Connect
Around the same time I was invited to talk on my “lived experience” at mental health conferences and workshops and I realized this was my calling. This was a way to share with others some innovative ways to tackle the causes of mental illness and suicide in young people and the broader community. To do it properly I created Lauren Breen the company – with my beloved dragonfly as our symbol. Why the dragonfly – that’s another story.