About Our Principal
I’m Kirsten, Principal Mental Health Instructor and Support Coordinator at Empowered Lives.
Kirsten is passionate about mental health awareness and advocacy.
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.
Registered Community Worker through ACWA
Member of the Australia & NZ Mental Health Association
Accredited to teach Standard Mental Health First Aid through Mental Health First Aid Australia
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. With a focus on recovery and strength-based principles, she delivers training in a way that is accessible to all attendees.
Kirsten provides recovery-oriented and strengths-based support coordination specialising in working with people on the NDIS who have a mental illness. By understanding the unique needs of people with a psycho-social disability she is able to work collaboratively with clients and their families.
While working as a Policy Officer at Being – Mental Health and Wellbeing Consumer Advisory Group, the Mental Health Peak body in 2016 and 2017, Kirsten developed a deep understanding of current mental health issues, as well as having extensive contact with people with a lived experience and learning what is important to them to ensure her work was representative of people’s experiences. A favourite project was travelling around the south-east of NSW interviewing people and writing first-person stories in collaboration with the participants for use in the South Eastern Primary Health Network’s co-design process for mental health services.
Past direct service provision includes working as a Drug and Alcohol worker in both Bathurst and Fairfield, as a disability advocate in Western Sydney, and as the Consumer Engagement Coordinator for Dementia Australia – NSW.
Kirsten is an experienced trainer, including providing training on leadership and representation in the workplace, training social researchers running workshops for volunteers on community and political campaigns on how to have effective conversations with people while campaigning. She has worked individually with people with a lived experience of mental illness, people with early-onset dementia and carers preparing to speak at various events.
Kirsten is a skilled facilitator and has run multiple consultations with carers, people with a mental illness – including young people and people with significant psycho-social disabilities, as well as people with dementia and their carers. Through Empowered Lives, Kirsten and her team are available to provide consultation and facilitation services.
After attending the 2017 Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities at the UN headquarters in New York as an Australian Civil Society delegation member, she presented current international thinking on mental health rights at the Mental Health Commission, Being, Mental Health Carers NSW, WayAhead & SMART recovery.
Kirsten holds a Diploma in Community Services – Welfare, a Certificate 4 in Alcohol and Other Drug work, and a Certificate 3 Youth Work, as well as University studies in communications, and health science. She is a strong believer in constantly updating knowledge and skills and regularly attends workshops, webcasts, and conferences – presenting in 2017 at TheMHS, the leading Australian mental health conference. Kirsten recently completed training in Support Coordination with industry-leading training organisation, Disability Services Consulting.
Kirsten is a registered Community Worker through the professional body 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.
Kirsten is accredited to teach the Standard Mental Health First Aid Course through Mental Health First Aid Australia.