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Mind-Life Mind Sets


The Mind-Life project team gathered together earlier this month to explore the mindsets that underpin the origins of our provocative statement.


Mindsets are the basic assumptions, attitudes, philosophy, and worldviews that inform how any person or organisation operates.


We asked ourselves what do we believe to be true for Mind-Life?


Our intention was to develop guiding statements that articulate the projects core beliefs in a way that will assist us in the design and delivery of the resources and events that we are committed to produce.


The Mind-Life mindsets listed below stay true to Human Centered Design as they are formed from the shared stories of those that are reclaiming their mind-life. We offer these to you as early prototypes for discussion, contemplation, and feedback.


Our original provocative statement poses that Mind-Life’s main assumption is that an inability to live and lead a full life is not necessarily or simply because of the symptoms of mental illness, but much more from the reduced opportunities to exercise our human rights and live extraordinary lives.

Whilst our health and community models of service assist people to manage their symptoms better; these models can inadvertently disable a person’s identity, autonomy, and ability to live outside of the illness experience.

Mind-Life boldly disrupts the construct of “psychiatric disability” as we have known it - not by trying to change the person, but by challenging the narrative, creating resources, and hosting events that build opportunities to LIVE different, THINK different and ultimately BE different.

The project has set out to challenge the stigma and discrimination that accompany psychosocial disability and to design resources that help us to avoid the pitfalls of either providing or accessing services. This was never intended to be easy. To create something different we must look in different ways and think different things.


The mindsets that follow are grouped around key areas that are interesting for changing the narrative and for system reform.


Here we go … THE Mind Life MINDSETS


On Capacity

  • People know what’s best for them and are the only ones that can truly determine this

  • All people are initiating beings. Every action is an attempt to meet a need

  • People have an innate ability to overcome adversity

  • People thrive when they can realise their full citizenship within their natural community and access the opportunities it provides

  • People are creative and resourceful problem solvers; this skill can become atrophied when too many or inappropriate support gets in the way


On Psychosocial disability

  • Psychosocial disability is not a symptom of mental illness, it is a negative side effect of lost opportunities

  • Psychosocial disability is primarily caused by loss of ‘Personal Sovereignty’

  • Psychosocial disability is not a symptom of mental illness but a symptom of unmet need

  • Psychosocial disability is not something that will be resolved with a medical response therefore we believe that it is not the person that needs to change but our whole community


On the role of services

  • We cannot empower or motivate others only disempower or demotivate

  • Helpers can help, and helpers can harm or get in the way. We all have to be ever mindful about this


On the role of community

  • People add value based on their actions not their role or title

  • Despite the presence or absence of mental illness people’s right to self-determination cannot be removed or denied because of their experience of mental illness or distress


When we, as the Mind-Life team, re-read these beliefs ourselves we heard ourselves take a sharp intake of air. They challenged us personally as to how we could uphold them not just within the project but within how services could be delivered. Some of the premises that our current mental health system is built upon would be challenged by many, if not most of these mindsets. This may be some of the reasons why our system is failing people as described in both the Productivity Commission, Mental Health Inquiry Report, and the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. It is not just what we offer that needs to change but also our underlying beliefs held about people, our offer of help and the role we have in people’s lives.


Similarly, to us, our Mind – Life mindsets may also disrupt some of your core beliefs and thinking.


Each of these statements or mindsets – invite us to a deeper understanding of the society we live in and the actions we take in response to a range of situations both personal and political.


We are curious about which ones challenge you and which ones ring true for you?

Which ones would you like to know more about?


We would be interested to engage with you in chatting more about these and their relevance to our collective work.




Productivity Commission 2020, Mental Health, Report no.95, Canberra

State of Victoria, Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System, Final Report, Summary and recommendations, Parl Paper No. 202, Session 2018–21 (document 1 of 6).

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