Insanity is defined as – the state of being seriously mentally ill. The term mental illness is associated with words such as madness, instability, lunacy and irrationality. Rachael Stevens was told as a young person that she fit this criteria. Diagnosed with anorexia at age 15, she survived a series of psychiatric admissions for mental health issues. Today she speaks honestly and critically about her personal experience of being treated not as a person, but as a problem to be solved. Challenging the stereotypes and assumptions surrounding mental illness Rachael shares her story throughout Australia, engaging and inspiring audiences to treat people with compassion, respect and dignity. By humanising the issues of mental health, suicide prevention and psychiatric treatment her talks provide a compelling alternate perspective that is challenging and relevant, possessing the richness of insights derived from lived experience.
In 2014 Rachael published her story as a novel, entitled The Skeleton Diaries. Her book has inspired countless people suffering and caring for those battling eating disorders. For her work inspiring hope in the lives of Australians, Rachael was an ACT Finalist for the 2017 Young Australian of the Year Award. In 2016 she won the ACT Young Woman of the Year Award.
Rachael is also currently studying her Masters in Culture, Health and Medicine at The Australian National University. Blending her life experiences with a deep and insightful understanding of the nature of health, sickness and healing – Rachael certainty has a unique, valuable and deeply impacting story to tell.
Image Credit: Tracy Lee Photography
2017: Canberra Citizen of the Year Finalist
2017: Young Achievers Finalist Leadership Award
2017: Finalist ACT Young Australian of the Year
2016: Winner of the ACT Young Woman of the Year Award
2016: Australian of the Day January 4th
2016: Young Achievers Finalist Leadership Award
2015: Winner of the Mental Health Week Promotion, Prevention and Early Intervention Award
2015: National Youth Week Courage Award Finalist
2014: Lifeline Rising Woman of Spirit Finalist