Rich McLean is a human rights awarded autobiographer who has written about recovery from ‘mental illness’, and a public advocate, who has spoken hundreds of times in community groups keynote speeches, media and from the likes of Parliament House in Canberra to outback Dubbo to McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

    “Sometimes I call my ‘mental illness’ my ‘mental skillness’, because I utilise my broad thoughts, unusual thinking and experience of ‘non ordinary reality’ to explore the real and beautifully mundane to the esoteric and paranormal.”

    Rich has lived among us in the west, off and on since 1999 – he is quite itinerant however!

    “I’ve moved to a new house twenty times, been engaged twice, if illegal, suffered lots of adversity, but I’m alive and well happy and grateful even if deficient of the currency of the money kind. But I have other just as important currencies of self-worth, value my contributions and broad experience which renders my empathy, the luxury of air water, and a room in my house that takes my poo down the street, an extraordinary privilege for humans.”

    Rich last moved from what he calls an “epic” share house in Clifton Hill to West Footscray. He’s been studying at Victoria University Footscray Park campus for about six years, and has just been approved for a PhD.

    What’s been the biggest change Rich’s witnessed in that time?

    “I think change is the only consistent thing, but what has not changed (I’m sure when it comes back!) is the epic buffet with Abdul and Rose at Konjo Ethiopian Restaurant!”

    As for small joys, Rich has his lovely husky Crystal, and coffees and treats for Crystal from Ed and Andrew at Maidstone cafe and bottle shop.

    “I live in paradise but acknowledge the doom, and the trauma of the world, yet the spirit of living amplifies my work as an arts-life-coach for the NDIS, offering therapeutic support for marginalised people, with you guessed it-a creative approach.”

    Rich’s favourite hangout was Sloth Bar in Hopkins St Footscray.

    “They had an amazing safe space with amazing backstory, and I was a regular at POOF and Bar Josephine pre COVID!”

    Rich’s hopes for the future here in the west are simply for us all to be kind and celebrate the incremental happinesses of life.

    You can read more about Rich and his work on this months edition.  


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