Emily Unity

LGBTQIA+ and Youth Ambassador

Q: What are your goals for Equally Well? What inspires you about Equally Well?

A: My aspirations for Equally Well are deeply tied to my lived, living, and professional experiences. As an intersectional lived experience advocate, my goal is to elevate Equally Well’s commitment to not just bridge the gap between mental and physical healthcare, but to further encourage the exploration of deeper intersections including gender, culture, disability, and more. As an autistic, non-binary, young person of colour, I love Equally Well’s foundation in promoting equity, particularly in recognising and addressing the multifaceted identities and experiences of lived and living experiences. It inspires me because it echoes my goal to create a future where healthcare is accessible and inclusive for all people, regardless of who they are or where they come from.  

Q: How do you see Equally Well benefiting carers/consumers/practitioners?

A: For consumers, particularly those like myself who embody diverse intersectional lived and living experiences, Equally Well promises a more nuanced and inclusive approach to care – one that sees us in our entirety and respects our full spectrum of experiences. For carers, this initiative offers enriched resources and training, empowering them with the knowledge and tools needed to support their loved ones effectively as whole people. For practitioners, can also adopt more inclusive, equitable, and effective healthcare practices, partnering their professional expertise with lived and living expertise.

Q: What hurdles do you currently see Equally Well facing and will have to face in the future? Is there a particular area you believe needs more focus that Equally Well can develop on?

A: I believe that the systemic and cultural inertia against integrating an intersectional approach to healthcare is not to be underestimated. The current healthcare landscape is fragmented, with l health services often operating in silos, and there’s a pervasive lack of understanding about how intersecting identities can influence health outcomes. Drawing from my experiences, a critical area that requires more focus is the development of healthcare practices that are not only culturally competent but are also responsive to the diverse needs related to gender, ability, and socioeconomic status. I hope that Equally Well can play a pivotal role in advocating for and implementing intersectional reform so that healthcare systems become more adaptable, responsive, and ultimately equitable for everyone.

Q: What have you personally learnt and has this knowledge impacted your life and/or the lives of those around you?

A: My lived and living experiences have informed and influenced every part of my life. However, as a lived experience professional, I believe it is my responsibility to acknowledge and leverage my privilege to amplify the lived and living experiences of others. I am consistently learning more about myself, but I recognise that we can only be the experts of our own experiences. I endeavour to consistently advocate with curiosity, humility, and compassion, learning about both myself and others in safe and effective ways. I believe that there is always more that we can learn and do to further equity in healthcare.

Q: As an Equally Well Ambassador, you are an advocate for improving the physical health of those who live with a mental illness, have there been any new developments or research in your field? 

A: In recent years, there has been a promising shift towards recognising the value of lived and living expertise. This has been the product of many advocates who came before me, as well as many of my peers and allies, whom I am privileged to advocate alongside. I believe that the amplification, centring, and respect for lived and living expertise has and will continue to be the gateway towards equitable healthcare. It is the primary way through which we will reform, reframe, and redesign a truly intersectionally inclusive future for all. 

Q: What do you see is your role for Equally Well as one of our ambassadors?

A: As an ambassador for Equally Well, I see my role as embodying the principles of intersectionality and inclusivity in healthcare advocacy. My lived and living experiences of mental and physical ill health, disability, gender diversity, sexuality, and multiculturalism will inform my advocacy. I endeavour to leverage these insights to advocate for systemic change, aiming to create a healthcare system that not only recognises but celebrates the complexity of human experiences. Through the ambassadorship, I aspire to help drive forward a vision of intersectional healthcare that is truly Equally Well for all.