Kirsten Gibbs is the Principal Trainer & Support Coordinator at Empowered Lives - Mental Health Training, Support & Advocacy. Empowered Lives provides a range of mental health training, facilitation and specialised mental health support coordination services.
Kirsten is passionate about mental health awareness and advocacy, and about empowering people to have the skills to support people living with a mental illness.
As a mental health trainer she brings to her training a wide breadth of knowledge gained from her personal experience living with a mental illness, as a carer of children with mental health issues and her extensive and varied professional experience.
Working at the NSW Mental Health Peak Body for people with a lived experience of mental illness, she developed a deep understanding of current issues in mental health. The expertise of lived experience is an incredibly important principle, and through multiple consultations with people with a mental illness and their carers, she has been able to gain insight into the variety of experiences people have with a mental illness. She has worked in direct service provision to people experiencing substance use problems, people with mental illness, people with dementia and carers. She currently works as a support worker and support coordinator for people with a mental illness, and has a special interest in training disability support workers in Mental Health First Aid.
Kirsten is a skilled and experienced trainer, facilitator and presenter. She has provided training on leadership and representation in the workplace, trained social researchers on interviewing techniques, and run workshops for volunteers on community and political campaigns on how to have effective conversations with people while campaigning. She has also presented on issues in mental health in a number of professional forums, including leading mental health conferences.
With a focus on recovery and strength based principles, and creating a relaxed, supportive atmosphere, she delivers training in a way that is accessible to all attendees.
Kirsten is a registered Community Worker through the Australian Community Workers Association and is a Member of the Australia & New Zealand Mental Health Association and the Australian College of Community and Disability Practitioners.
“I am passionate about teaching mental health first aid, as I know that no matter your personal or professional experience, everyone benefits from this course. I am living with my own mental illnesses, and I am a carer. I have studied and worked in mental health areas. When I did this course myself, I walked out with new information, new ways of thinking, and new and different tools to be able to help myself, my kids, and my clients” - Kirsten.