Seventy-year-old Peter Feeney lives with anxiety and depression, and is in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.
The Wollongong resident has been living with these conditions for over 40 years, not receiving any help for the first 20 years of his experience.
When Peter finally sought help, he was able to reflect on his experiences and move forward in his recovery.
Later this month Peter will share his story called 'Long Winding Road' with members of the public as part of an event called 'Real Stories, Real People, Share the Journey'.
"It's a wonderful experience to be able to share my story with members of the public," Peter said.
"The hope of course is that myself and all the other speakers will boost awareness of mental health in the Illawarra, something that could change many lives."
The Wollongong event on September 27 is being held as a launch for Mental Health Month in the Illawarra.
Twelve people of all ages and backgrounds have been selected as 'Living Library' mental health speakers and will share their recovery journey stories during the event being held at 3 Station St, Wollongong from 3-6pm.
The concept is a collaboration between leading community mental health not-for-profit Flourish Australia and Community Service Diploma students from TAFE Wollongong, and takes a twist on Wollongong City Council's Living Library programs.
The hope of course is that myself and all the other speakers will boost awareness of mental health.Peter Feeney
"It's called a 'Living Library' experience because it's just that - a chance for real people to share real mental health stories with people who want to learn more," Flourish Australia Wollongong manager Chloe Hancock said.
"It's one thing for people to read-up on mental health but understanding is taken to another level when real people are speaking of their own experiences and connecting as human beings.
"It's also therapeutic for those speaking because they're playing a role in helping others."
Belinda Hawker from TAFE Wollongong said a main objective was to steer people with mental health issues towards help.
"People may be living with a mental health issue, but not realise it or not know that life-changing help is usually close," Ms Hawker said.
"When such people hear the detailed experiences of others who are on a successful recovery journey, it can usually encourage them to start their own journey."