EPISODE 2 – Mental Illness: An Interview with Kim Ausburn

Kim Ausburn candidly shares her lived experiences with mental illness, highlighting her resilience over the last 30 years with her diagnosis of schizo-affective disorder. She discusses hospitalization, the mental health system, family support, community stigma, medication side-effects, and the management of her illness. Kim has spoken with Dr. Turner’s students over the years and feels her story provides a face to an often shamed and silenced community. She hopes that students gain practice skills, enhance their insight for more client-centered support and most importantly see …genuinely SEE people living with mental illness as people deserving of respect.


  • Good evening Kim, My name is Gabe Hall and i am in my fourth year of university as a social worker student. Your story has inspired me and combined with Dr T’s reflection and added information of your interview, has opened my eyes so so so much. There was so much valuable, powerful and empowering information in that interview, i ended up with three and a half pages of notes containing such highly valuable information that i have not been able to find in any textbook or case study or in any of the three years of my social work degree. I admire your courage, self-respect, bravery, resiliency, determination to never give up and keep putting in 110% effort especially with sharing your story of living with a schizoaffective disorder. And also sharing your story about a hugely stigmatised issue in today’s society. You are so awesome and amazing, never forget that. One of the many things i noted down from the interview was when you reflected on how a lot or if not majority of the professionals you encountered when you were being hospitalised, did not stop to ask you how your day was or how you were because they were so focused on doing what they were doing that they actually forgot one of or the most important part of social work or any sort of job, which is to the great importance of forming relationships with your clients or people that you are working with. I was like OMG and i was really shocked. I think i underestimated the importance of the basic sort of question which is just asking how the person is, how their day is going and just having a social yarn( conversation) with the person which is so so so so important. I also want to say you are awesome again ( and you too George mate) and thank you for sharing information about all the different treatments for mental illnesses and/or mental health especially the side effects of the medical drugs that you were taking, i have gained heaps of knowledge and now i feel like a more competent social worker because of listening and hearing from you. i never really knew much about the treatment including the different types of medication let alone the side effects of them. You truly are an incredible woman and a great role model if i can say. It is people like you that help teach people about the real world and learn more about the mental illnesses for example, oh and I almost forgot, when you spoke about when you could start to identify more about the voices you were hearing and how you know when to seek help when you needed it, that is super powerful, brave, admirable, courageous and just bloody amazing, not a lot of people know how to do that. Thank you Kim and thank you George, George has taught me what social workers actually do and how to be a F***** AWESOME social worker. One day i look forward to meeting you, you have made a difference in my life and i have truly learnt the importance of when it is time that to seek help and the importance of stopping to just pause and be in the moment with the client to ask them how their day is going and how they are. I wish you and your family all the very best with everything and thank you heaps heaps HEAPS for sharing your story. You truly are the definition of a legend 🙂

    Yours sincerely,
    Gabe Hall

  • Hi Kim,
    Just wanted to send you a quick message of thanks, for sharing your story :).
    After listening to your interview with Dr. Turner, I feel I got to see a little of the friend he often speaks about in class. He speaks so highly of you and the friendship you share.
    I am the mother of an adult child living with Bipolar and I could relate closely with your story and want to say it is a shitty hand to be dealt, we only get one hand and I found your honesty, resilience and attitude refreshing, thank you!
    I love that from the other side of the world you have brought a real life (warts and all) understanding of the reality of living with a substantial mental health issue to future social workers. By allowing our cohort to see the vulnerabilities of your condition you have not only changed our perception of mental health but the treatment and understanding of our future clients, friends and family for the better.
    With many thanks and appreciation,
    Edwina Smith

  • Thanks Gabe!!! It feels wonderful to get feed back from the actual advocacy that I try to do. I have no doubt that with Dr. Turner as a mentor and your willingness to listen and learn from people like me you will be a ——- awesome social worker!!!

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