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Development   /  Hannah Friebel

Sincerely Survivor the Documentary

What is a mental health system if it's not designed by and for the people whom it serves?


Impact areas







  • DIRECTOR Hannah Friebel & Daniel A'Vard

  • PRODUCER Hannah Friebel & Daniel A'Vard



The findings of the Victorian Royal Commission revealed a mental health system that 'catastrophically failed to live up to expectations' (ABC, 2021). Sincerely Survivor acts as an invitation for individuals with lived experience of mental health to find (and share) healing through the Arts, peer support and storytelling. This Documentary Series will be co-produced, documenting the journey of system reform from the consumer perspective. This initial stage of crowdfundraising seeks to fund the Pilot Episode and series proof of concept. For more information about Sincerely Survivor go to

Support this project

4.61% funded
  • $35,000.00

  • $1,615.00

  • December 2022

  • 14

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





Anonymous $200.00
Australian Communities Foundation ATF Sally Browne Sub-Fund $500.00
John Englezos $100.00
David Peters $50.00
Bridget Hamilton $100.00
Rachel Tindall $150.00
Anonymous $50.00
Anonymous $100.00
Frances McCarthy $15.00
Anonymous $100.00
Anonymous $100.00
Anonymous $50.00
Anonymous $50.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

Victoria's broken mental health system has impacted many - felt by inpatients, communities and clinicians alike. Recommendations include a great need for lived experience leadership as we consider a future of inclusion for all. Community recovery from COVID 19 also presents a new invitation as to how we consider mental health integration and collective healing from past trauma.

This consumer led film will provide a platform for individuals with diverse experiences of mental health to share wisdom and insights in support of system transformation and community mental health awareness.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

Mental health is becoming an increasing concern for communities and governments alike. Issues such as isolation, social fragmentation and now COVID place increased stress on our communities. We have seen through Victoria's Royal Commission a need for reform.

Sincerely Survivor platforms individuals with lived experience of 'mental illness' as part of a journey towards collective healing. We advocate for consumer led systems, policy reform, human rights and enhanced community compassion.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

- Bring greater awareness and compassion towards individuals experiencing mental distress.
- Provide a platform for the sharing of consumer perspective knowledges and wisdom.
- Create a tool for education for health care professionals both at universities and hospitals.
- Build greater community compassion and awareness around the very human experience of mental distress and in turn;
- Advocate for policy / systemic reform as diverse consumers find their voice and contribute to the future we all hope for.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

Sincerely Survivor will connect the lived reality of mental health Survivors with the experience of everyday Australians. The documentary (and following series) will explore real stories that have emerged from the mental heath system through relational and narrative interview techniques, documenting system reform from the consumer perspective.

In addition to the film we will be sharing microfilm snippets on our social media channels to build momentum around the movement, along with attempting to build a stronger lived experience community. We will continue to advocate and share our work as an educational tool within hospital networks, educational providers and policy designers.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

Sincerely Survivor is born out of Hannah Friebel's consumer lived experience with the mental health system. Ever since her involuntary inpatient admission in 2015, Hannah has been advocating for mental health from a lived experience perspective, and has pursued training in psychology and spiritual care - currently working as a Consumer Consultant in Victoria's largest public mental health service. For this project, we work closely with lived experience leaders in the mental health system, along with other mental health professionals including Allied Health professionals, Psychologists, and Psychiatrists.

We are also seeking partnership with the Centre for Mental Health Learning (CMHL) and the Victorian Mental Illness Awareness Council (VMIAC), along with other consumer organisations and groups to leverage their expertise and knowledge.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

Sincerely Survivor the Docuseries will link the lived experience of mental health Survivors with the widely held hope for mental health system reform. Through exploring the ways in which the Mental Health System has failed to account for lived experience, we are shining a light for audiences on alternative expressions and modalities of healing. We aim to encourage the development of human centred design for the future of the mental health system, in turn promoting new relational models for practitioners, hospitals and policy makers alike. We seek to amplify the voices of consumer leaders and open pathways for the broader community hear from people with diverse lived experiences of mental health.

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

- Community responses have shifted to respond meaningfully in their outlook towards mental health and those with lived experience.
- Mental Health Clinicians and students will have a greater emphasis on lived experience perspectives and values.
- Relationship building between lived experience approaches and other clinical mental health perspectives, including consumer workforce development.
- Engagement and amplification of the Consumer Movement in Victoria
- Policy reform around mental health treatment towards human centred design.