Untold Stories highlights personal experiences of UNSW students and staff

08 Apr 2024
Untold Stories of UNSW graphic with student pictured

The project shines a light on mental health and wellbeing, with an aim to encourage others on their own journey.

Untold Stories is a lived-experience, storytelling project and online exhibition. The initiative empowers UNSW students and staff to share their personal experiences and journeys to recovery, to help and inspire others going through similar experiences.

Facilitated by UNSW Health & Wellbeing, and supporting the UNSW Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy, it promotes the art of storytelling as a powerful medium - with the potential to shape the social and culture norms of our society.

The project originally started in 2019, with story coaching and mentoring courses, supported by a grant from the Division of Equity Diversity & Inclusion. The first stories were shared in 2020 and the movement has grown since then. Over the following years the program has evolved from a collection of written stories to training students to share spoken stories. During Mental Health Month art competitions were run, where students submitted artworks relating to their experiences of mental health. During  Mental Health March, a photography exhibition was held on UNSW’s Helen Maguire Lawn and students had the opportunity to participate in an Untold Stories Photography Workshop facilitated by Daniel Regan, UK-based visual artist and Creative Health expert.

A previous participant in the project said, “Untold Stories has had a hugely positive impact on me. From writing and sharing my story, I learned to further accept myself and my mental health journey. Even though I aimed to send a hopeful message, I was also able to honour and dignify my struggles. Ultimately, I think my story emphasised my strengths and my growth, which was very empowering.”

In addition to storytelling, the project seeks to destigmatise mental illness and increase help-seeking. This is particularly important within cultural and linguistically diverse communities and for young men. One in four students experience mental ill-health during their time at university and death by suicide accounts for 32 per cent of all deaths in young people aged 18-24 years in Australia.* 

If you’d like to learn more or participate in the Untold Stories project visit the website

In addition, information is available on learning how to craft your own story and be mentored through the process. Submit an expression of interest. 

*More statistics on this topic can be found on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.