Flourish Australia supports 5000 people with a lived experience of a mental health issue annually in non-clinical programs including housing, daily living and employment support and has been operating since the 1950s. In 2012 the organisation set an ambitious recruitment target for inclusion of people with a lived experience at 50% of the total workforce in recognition of the value people’s experience brings to the workforce as a whole. By 2017, 52% of Flourish Australia’s 670 managerial, administrative and support staff identified as having a lived experience. The organisation achieved this within that 5 year period through strategic policy and practice decisions that were well communicated and modelled throughout the organisation. This included positive recruitment policies, an action framework to support strengths based and reflective culture and internal campaigns aimed at recruiting managers. Flourish Australia has become an influencer of practice in the mental health field. The NSW Mental Health Commission, Mental Health Australia and forensic justice system have been influenced by the organisation’s policies and practices.
James Herbertson is part of the Flourish Australia’s Senior Leadership Team based in Sydney. He is responsible for the organisation’s employment programs such as the Community Businesses and Disability Employment Services and has managed disability employment programs since 2010. Prior to this James was based in Amsterdam for 10 years as the senior leader of a number of local branches and European Regional Director of the C3 Church movement.