Members Directory
- Queensland

Cindy Heddle

Representative Title: Queensland Carer Representative
Membership Type: Carer
Biography: Imagine if every health service worker, from executives to administration staff, saw people with mental ill health and their carers as equal, without judgement, bias, or stigma. This is what I hope for every day of my life. But instead people are seen as consumers, carers, patients, clients, or by their unique identification number. With so many labels it can be difficult to be seen as a person. We need a system that will adopt a person first approach, and will always see the person before the diagnosis or label. Only then will true mental health reform be possible.

I bring to the table a purpose driven dedication for improving our mental health system. I dream of a brighter future for mental health in Australia where families and carers are valued and respected for their insight and wisdom. People who are having a mental health crisis are seen as an emergency. And lived experience staff are well supported, not because of their history, but because they are valuable employees. I know it will take brave people to pave a path forward out of an antiquated system, but the future of so many Australians rely on the those who will put them first, over politics and money.

It is my belief that without abolishing the old system and replacing it with a new system, we risk building on a weak foundation that will not have the stability and strength needed to last the test of time.

I am passionate about advocating for improved services and systems, and the rights of people with mental ill health and their families. My values align well with those of the NMHCCF. I respect others and treat people with compassion, understanding and sensitivity. I listen, value, and acknowledge people. And I strive to grow my knowledge, skills and understanding so that I can support the important work happening in mental health.

I am well known for my dedication, resilience, persistence and determination. These strengths have helped me to cope with the struggles of life, and to persevere in my campaign for change.

Over the past 7 years I have supported people in crisis and advocated for carer and family rights. I have also advocated strongly for my sons needs and my own rights, through difficult circumstances. Regardless of life's challenges, I remain positive in the face of adversity. I look at the possibilities for change and work towards a solution by offering innovative ideas, using my problem-solving skills, and staying focused on the best possible outcome.

I live by the philosophy ‘Moment by moment, then one day at a time’. When you are a carer who has lived through crisis many times, this is the best wisdom I can share.

Through my journey as a carer, I've learnt a lot about myself, and I've found strength and resilience I didn't know I had. Each day I wake up I consciously choose to live in hope. I push away fear and hold onto the infinite possibilities in life. And I feel gratitude for the miracles that my son and I have experienced.

My focus is on crisis reform, carer support and lived experience workforce development. I am currently a proactive lived experience representative for the NMHCCF, Qld Crisis Reform and Suicide Prevention Implementation Steering Committee, Carer Representative for the Family Advisory Committee and Gold Coast Peer Workforce Network, to name a few. I am affiliated with a number of mental health organisations and peak bodies, and I like to network and keep up with the latest developments in mental health.

My experience includes a long list of training and education in suicide prevention, and participation in numerous forums, network meetings, in-services, service development workshops, steering committee meetings, HHS recruitment panels, 6 years of counselling people in crisis, and facilitation of resilience building workshops for disengaged youth, and people with severe and persistent mental health.

My greatest desire is to see a new mental health system throughout Australia. We need change that will result in lived experience collaboration at every level, positive experiences and outcomes for people in crisis, and person first holistic care for everyone who engages with mental health services. I look forward to a system that is focused on the prevention of suicide, and is better equipped, and able to improve the lives of all Australians struggling with mental health challenges.