Why Lived Experience Matters: Advice from Expert Grace Gatera

This week we hear from Grace Gatera, a mental health and NCDs lived experience advocate, living in Kigali, Rwanda on Why Lived Experience matters when it comes to mental health welfare during the covid-19 pandemic. Grace is a commissioner on the Lancet Commission on Gender Based Violence and the Maltreatment of Young people. She is an NCD Child young leader as well as a youth leader for the My Mind Our Humanity campaign for the Lancet Commission on Global Mental Health and Sustainable Development. She is an advisor on the COVID-MINDS network international steering group.

My name is Grace Gatera. I am a lived experience mental health activist/advocate. I am 27 years old, and I live with several mental health illnesses. When I say lived experience, I understand that it has many varied meanings depending on the context, so I am talking about it within the very specific context of mental health work/advocacy.   In this space, I am talking about people with a personal experience of mental illness, service use and recovery participating in the design and delivery of mental health services. This is important to hold on to, that lived experience also includes knowledge garnered. Fo