ABOUT RACHAEL STEVENS
Growing up in a broken home and a survivor of abuse, Rachael was hospitalised when she was 15 into a psychiatric ward with anorexia and depression. Later she dropped out of year 12 after being hospitalised again for attempting suicide. At this point she was informed she would never be able to work or study full time for the remainder of her life.
Rachael has overcame these immense challenges and over the last 6 years used her experiences, largely in a voluntary capacity to inspire others that recovery from mental illness is possible. She is also an outstanding student in her final year of her degree at The Australian National University studying sociology. While studying in 2014 she self-published her story, entitled “The Skeleton Diaries” to provide insight, challenge stigma and to give hope to sufferers. Rachael has shared her personal story of recovery in high schools throughout Australia. Her workshops and talks have inspired and motivated thousands to not give up despite challenges and seek help if they are struggling. Her work focuses on suicide prevention, health promotion and early intervention, empowering the next generation to seek support before they reach crisis.
Rachael communicates a message of hope to improve the lives of young Australians through collaborating with organisations such as Lifeline, SANE Australia, Orygen, Headspace, iINSPIRE Leadership and others. She has been a keynote speaker for various events and received multiple awards. She is also passionate about leadership and mentoring many primary and high school aged students to be agents of social change to improve the lives of others. Rachael’s creativity is remarkable, as she has designed, planned and implemented workshops and programs incorporating visual art, poetry and design. She has previously exhibited her paintings in 2 solo art exhibitions which promoted recovery from mental illness. Her work centres in building meaningful and authentic connections with those affected by mental illness, families, schools, churches, organisations and her local Canberra community. Rachael has big dreams for the future and feels she is only just getting started in making a difference to the wellbeing of young Australians.
Image Credit: Tracy Lee Photography
Previous Awards and Recognition
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