Jen Waltmon is the Blue Voices Manager at Beyond Blue, helping 6,000+ community members use and raise their voices of lived experience of depression, anxiety or suicide to improve mental health services and program, inform policy and reduce stigma. She is someone with lived experience of previous suicidality and manages her own depression.
Jen is an American with dual (Australian and American) citizenship and has resided in Sydney for 15 years. She has a 20+ year background in L & D, but after facing the suicides of 3 people in her life over a 3-year period, she began volunteering with mental health and suicide prevention organisations at every opportunity.
After feeling like she could do more, Jen secured contract roles as a lived-experience advisor and as a peer researcher. Later she joined Beyond Blue full-time. Currently, she works across all 3, continues to volunteer, and also sits on the SPA NSW/ACT Joint Committee. She is passionate about improving mental health services and programs and informing policy, and believes that it begins and ends with the lived experience voices of the wider community.
Session title: The unique perspectives and value of lived experience