Pebble in the Pond

Pebble in the Pond

By Sam Stewart
Pebble in the Pond is a podcast that hopes to create a ripple of change for mental health. Listen in as we interview the most fascinating and accomplished people in mental health, from lived experience speakers through to researchers, academics and influential industry leaders. Hosted by the Australian & New Zealand Mental Health Association, we are committed to progressing the understanding of mental health for the benefit for all.
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Episode 14 | Kevin Humphreys: Busting the Myths of Mental Illness

Pebble in the Pond

Episode 14 | Kevin Humphreys: Busting the Myths of Mental Illness

Pebble in the Pond

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S2:E4 | Why We Shouldn’t Wait for the ‘Mind Attack’
Just like cardiology, mental health is about much more than rushing to the Emergency Department for acute care after a catastrophic event. Mental ill-health is preventable and is not just about managing symptoms or distress; it’s about ensuring the fundamentals for good mental health and wellbeing are in place for all of us. South Australia’s Mental Health Commissioner Chris Burns says this entrenched approach looks at mental health and wellbeing from an ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’ perspective. It’s how we looked at heart attacks in the 1950s - we wait for the crisis and then treat the patient. Tune in to this week’s episode as Chris delves into the importance of building resilient, compassionate and connected communities, as well as being pro-active in our approach to mental health, rather than waiting for the ‘mind attack’ to occur.
1:00:21
January 22, 2020
S2:E3 | Andrew Douglas: Mental Health and the New Workplace
What causes people to suffer mental health conditions in their workplaces is not limited to their work and work environment. Recent evidence strongly suggests the erosion of traditional employment relationships and stressors at home are the major causes of mental health issues arising at work - and the modern employer is ill-equipped to deal with both. Enter Workplace Law: eloquent, mindful, observant and with skilled intervention making people’s lives better. Law can be the Healer, the Educator and Mentor … or it can be a blunt instrument that damages everyone who participates. On this week’s episode, I had the opportunity to speak with Andrew Douglas, an experienced legal practitioner, accomplished speaker and chair of masterclasses in workplace law. He has authored several books on health and safety law, and is a widely published legal practitioner on workplace wellbeing. Listen in as Andrew discusses the importance of workplace law and balancing the best interests of both employees and employers. When properly articulated and understood by employers, it offers clarity for both employees and employers when it comes to providing and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment.
57:28
January 17, 2020
S2:E2 | Liana Papoutsis: My Professional (& Personal) Experience with Domestic Violence
As an experienced human rights, international relations and law academic and family violence and social change advocate, Liana Papoutsis’ lived experience of intimate partner family violence has led to a personal crusade for education and awareness. Listen in as Liana discusses how it is time to go beyond awareness and talk about the resources and actions needed to change our community if we are to genuinely improve safety and support for women navigating family violence.
51:27
December 19, 2019
S2:E1 | Phil Barker: Men, Masculinity and Family Violence
What is broken inside men that is causing the death of more than one woman a week in Australia? Phil Barker is a Sydney-based columnist, public speaker and author. He is a former magazine editor and publisher of titles such as Vogue, GQ, Delicious, InsideOut, and Donna Hay. When he's not working his day job, as a consultant creative director and communications specialist, Phil is writing and speaking, to start conversations on what has become a personal crusade - positive masculinity and being a better man. The Revolution of Man is his first book. Tune into our first episode of season 2 as Phil delves into what he believes drives men to violence and abuse, why there's hope men can turn around, and how we can end family violence.
51:29
December 19, 2019
Episode 20 | Barbara Kuriger, MP: Rural Mental Health (a New Zealand Perspective)
Rural mental health in Australia has progressed in leaps and bounds – but how does that compare on a global scale? As the Member of Parliament for the large rural electorate of New Zealand’s Taranaki King Country, Barbara has a long career in the New Zealand Dairy Industry as a farmer and is a Board Member on a number of industry boards, including DairyNZ. In 2012, Barbara was awarded the inaugural Dairy Women of the Year. Her reason for being in Parliament is to represent rural communities and ensure the needs of primary producers and their support industries. This week, Barbara joins us to talk about the state of rural mental health in New Zealand, and how we can use lessons from other countries in improving our available support services.
58:48
December 19, 2019
Episode 19 | Allan Sparkes, CV,OAM,VA,FRSN: Inside the Mind, Body and Soul of Frontline Workers
When it comes to life on the front line, the risk for physical and mental health is significantly increased. One person who knows a little about risk is Allan Sparkes. As a frontline Police Officer with 20 years’ service, he is the only Australian ever to receive Australia’s highest bravery decoration and a subsequent National bravery decoration. The majority of Allan’s service was carried out with high levels of physical and mental health. However, things changed and changed rapidly. Eventually, he was diagnosed with PTSD and chronic depression after his life almost ended with an on-duty suicide attempt. His path to recovery is testament to his inner strength and unwavering determination. Listen in as I chat to Allan about his progression from positive psychological health to chronic psychological ill health.
1:23:28
December 18, 2019
Episode 18 | Wally Mitchell: How to Care for our First Responders
At approximately 1.30pm on the 15th March 2019, the Christchurch Mosques shootings bought the feared reality of horrific acts of terrorism to the door step of the otherwise typically passive citizenship of New Zealand. The extreme nature of this incident echoed around the world triggering an outpouring of support and connection both nationally and internationally. First responders directly involved in the incident witnessed horrific scenes and had contact with victims suffering extreme injuries secondary to high velocity trauma. One of those responders was Wally Mitchell. For more than 40 years, Wally has been involved with St John. From working in Northland, Wally moved into the Canterbury District Operations Manager position in late February 2019, and had been in his role only three weeks prior to the March 15th Mosque terrorist attacks. Based in Christchurch, he assumed command of the St John response to this incident. Tune in as I speak with Wally about his personal experience as a first responder and the aftercare that was implemented for frontline workers post-attack.
1:06:44
December 11, 2019
Episode 17 | Senator Rachel Siewert: An International Perspective of Rural Mental Health
When it comes to the mental health of our rural communities, tele-health and mobile van services are an excellent supplement to our health system. However, factors such as community trust can impact on the effectiveness of these innovative approaches to mental and physical health care. Senator Rachel Siewert has been in Parliament for over fourteen years, building up a vast portfolio in Family and Community Services, Ageing, Mental Health and First Nations Issues. As Chair of the Senate Community Affairs References Committee from 2009, Rachel has brought to light landmark issues such as; suicide prevention, hearing health, income inequality, forced adoptions and out of home care. In relation to rural mental health, Rachel is a strong advocate for communities driving change for long-term sustainable solutions. Listen in to episode 17 as Rachel discusses the challenges and opportunities facing rural mental health, as well as the importance of putting basic tools in the hands of the community.
52:32
December 3, 2019
Episode 16 | Ernest Hunter: Mental Disorders in Remote Indigenous Australia
Over the last half-century, Indigenous Australia has been transformed by a number of political and social forces that have been accompanied by changing patterns of mental disorders. While the excess vulnerability of Indigenous Australians to adverse mental health outcomes is widespread, it is changing with time and is unevenly distributed. One professional dedicated to finding out more about mental health amongst remote Indigenous Australians is this week’s podcast guest, Professor Ernest Hunter. After completing medical school at the University of Western Australia, Professor Ernest Hunter trained in adult, child and cross cultural psychiatry and public health in the United States. Returning to Australia in the mid-1980s, he undertook doctoral research in the Kimberley, and worked as a clinician and academic in Cape York and the Torres Strait until 2016. Ernest has continued to lead a now decade-long initiative in developing leadership in mental health with participants from the western Pacific. Tune in as I speak with Professor Ernest Hunter about his research and discoveries in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health in remote Australia.
1:05:04
November 26, 2019
Episode 15 | Jennifer Bowers: The Need For Suicide Prevention In Rural Communities & Workplaces
For people who live and work in rural and remote Australia, unspoken stigmas and a lack of available services can often lead to neglected mental health. Dr Jennifer Bowers is the inaugural CEO and MD of Rural & Remote Mental Health Ltd a not-for-profit organisation with charitable status. In recognition of the unique circumstances and challenges faced by Australians living and working in rural and remote areas, Jennifer has spearheaded the design and delivery of suicide prevention and early intervention programs. Designed to be culturally-tailored, evidence-based and awareness raising, these programs have been rolled out Australia-wide, receiving high praise for its collaborative learning environment and hands-on activities. Listen in as I speak with Jennifer about the state of rural and remote mental health, how she started in the industry and what drives her to make a difference.
56:31
November 19, 2019
Episode 14 | Kevin Humphreys: Busting the Myths of Mental Illness
If you’ve got a brain and a blood supply, you’re susceptible to mental illness; it doesn’t discriminate. Kevin Humphreys was a military combat pilot and commander, who now as a civilian rescue helicopter pilot, flight instructor and examiner has a powerful message about mental illness to share. Flying Blackhawk helicopters by age 21, Kevin would go on to complete several deployments in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan plus humanitarian operations in Papua New Guinea. Towards the peak of his military career he contemplated suicide and suffered a breakdown due to PTSD, depression, anxiety and bullying. Whilst a drive in the backstreets of Baghdad bought on PTSD, it was the isolation of leadership and a workplace with a toxic bullying command environment that triggered Kevin’s depression, anxiety and ultimately his breakdown and suicidal ideation. Tune in as Kevin takes us on the recovery rollercoaster that involved the power of visualisation and reuniting his head and heart, in what he describes as the longest journey one will ever take – but a journey well worth the effort.
1:17:18
November 13, 2019
Episode 13 | Richard Thorpe: How to be an Accidental Counsellor
If you’ve ever found yourself on the receiving end of a co-worker or employee’s problems, it can be difficult to know how to respond appropriately. So, what if you knew there was a way to become an effective accidental counsellor? In this week’s episode, psychologist Richard Thorpe joins us to discuss how a simple counselling model can be implemented into the workplace by both employers and employees, as well as the most effective strategies to foster self-care and prevent burnout.
40:29
November 5, 2019
Episode 12 | Camille Wilson: Reimagining Workplace Mental Health
What happens when the person responsible for managing mental health cases is the one who becomes unwell? This was exactly the case for our very own association ambassador Camille Wilson, a lived experience advocate, founder of Grow Together Now, a social enterprise with the mission to change the way we see mental health in workplaces. In this week’s episode, Camille takes us on a journey of her personal experience, exploring the differences between how we think we should manage mental health, compared to what it was like to be on the other end, and what we can be doing about making the shift that needs to happen.
56:29
October 29, 2019
Episode 11 | James Hill and Aaron McCann: Why Mental Health is a Crucial Workplace Issue
More and more, we’re seeing workplaces take a driving seat in the health and wellbeing of its employees. James Hill and Aaron McCann are prime examples of what happens when employers and employees come together in the name of mental health.  As Energy Australia’s mental health ambassadors, both men have used their respective personal experiences to take awareness of workplace mental health to the next level. Listen in as I chat with both men about their personal experience with mental health, as well as their decision to take the stand and speak out about the importance of everyone in the workplace playing their part in mental wellbeing.
49:39
October 22, 2019
Episode 10 | Dr Barbara Disley: A New Way to Approach Mental Health Care
When it comes to mental health services, are we really looking at the bigger picture? As a former panel member for the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service, Barbara Disley has heard the stories of over 1,000 people who experienced abuse or neglect while in state care. She is currently the Chief Executive of Emerge Aotearoa, a large non government mental health, disability and social housing provider. In 2011, she was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to mental health. Join us on this week’s episode as Barbara discusses the importance of integrating new ways of providing mental health services that address not only the medical needs of people but also the wider range of social, housing, employment and financial needs and availabilities.
1:03:04
October 15, 2019
Episode 9 | Megan Mitchell: Self Harm and Suicide Prevention in Children
Episode nine and this week we’re shining a spotlight on the mental health of children, with a guest who’s committed to curbing the numbers of self harm and suicide among children. Appointed in 2013, Megan Mitchell is Australia’s first National Children’s Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission. In her work to date, Megan has focused on the prevalence of suicide and intentional self-harm in children and young people, the impact of family and domestic violence on children and young people, the oversight of children and young people in correctional detention, and the experiences and of young parents and their children.
46:50
October 8, 2019
Episode 8 | Gabrielle Vilic: How Peer Support Workers are Revolutionising Mental Health
In the world of mental health, peer support workers are an integral part of our community. With over 24 years’ experience, Gabrielle Vilic is a well-respected leader in the mental health sector, working across a range of government and government sectors. In advocating for peer support, she has developed the lived experience workforce to over 50 positions in the last 4 years. Tune into episode eight as we chat with Gabrielle about what it means to be a support worker and her experience working peer to peer to help those in need.
48:33
October 1, 2019
Episode 7 | David Kavanagh: What Role is Technology Playing in Mental Health?
With the increase in apps, technology and online self-help resources, mental wellbeing in the digital age is an area of fast-paced development. Professor David Kavanagh is a clinical psychology researcher at Queensland University of Technology and chairs the Queensland Mental Health and Drug Advisory Council. Over the last 12 years, David has been developing and testing e-mental health programs and apps, and since 2013 has been leading the Australian Department of Health’s e-Mental Health in Practice project, which helps health workers across Australia to use digital resources and services. Take a listen as David joins us in episode seven to discuss the role technology plays in assisting with mental health, and how we can benefit from implementing these resources into the workplace.
1:00:16
September 23, 2019
Episode 6 | Shaun Robinson: The State of Mental Health in New Zealand
Joining us for episode six is Shaun Robinson, Chief Executive of the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. With degrees in business and community work, Shaun has held several CEO positions in not-for-profit organisations, addressing issues from child wellbeing to HIV and AIDS. He has been a management consultant to public hospitals, as well as a policy advisor to former New Zealand prime minister Helen Clark. As an integral member of New Zealand’s mental health sector, Shaun joins us to discuss the challenges, opportunities and developments being made in the country, as well as his own personal mental health journey.
56:37
September 17, 2019
Episode 5 | Heather Price: How Psychological Safety Can Revolutionise Workplace Mental Health
Onto episode five and this week we are shining a spotlight on a leader who has shaped the strategic vision of organisations across the globe on diversity and inclusion. Following a decade of guiding South African organisations on dismantling apartheid in the workplace, Heather Price has continued her mission for creating working environments that are psychologically safe. This is defined as a person’s willingness to bring their whole self to work – to speak up, propose new ideas, challenge traditional ways of doing things and take intelligent risks – all without fear of punishment, humiliation or career limitations. Heather has presented at numerous international conferences on issues of inclusion, bias and psychological safety, paired with establishing consulting group Symmetra in Australia in 2003. Listen in as I chat with Heather about her journey in breaking down barriers, creating a psychologically safe workplace and being aware of the unconscious bias that could be holding us back.
56:34
September 10, 2019
Episode 4 | Craig Hamilton: How a Bipolar Episode Triggered the Search for Identity
Craig Hamilton was a high-profile sports broadcaster for the ABC when, in September 2000, on the eve of his assignment for the Sydney Olympic Games, he experienced a major psychotic episode in public that led to him being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Craig spent 12 days in hospital and once he recovered, set out to spread the word on mental health awareness. Listen in as we chat with Craig about stigma, identity and the episode that led him to become a voice for change.
46:51
September 3, 2019
Episode 3 | Dr Justin Feinstein: Floating and it’s Impact on the Brain
Commonly referred to as floating, floatation therapy or sensory deprivation has taken the world by storm, praised by celebrities and clinical professionals alike for its relaxing effects on both mind and body. Dr. Justin Feinstein is a Clinical Neuropsychologist and Director of the Float Clinic and Research Centre at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research. His laboratory investigates the effects of floatation therapy on both the body and the brain, while also exploring its potential as a treatment for promoting mental health and healing in patients who suffer from anxiety and stress-related disorders. Justin’s research has been published in a number of top scientific journals and has been featured in press around the world, including the New York Times, TIME magazine, and Australia’s Sunday Night.
57:30
August 27, 2019
Episode 2 | Matt Caruana: A Life Behind the Smile
What looked like everything going great had a very different story behind the scenes. International speaker Matt Caruana is using his dark past and turning points as a catalyst to instruct, inspire, influence and impact people's frame of mind, for them to change their lives. Find out more about Matt's life-changing journey with mental health and how he has used his experience to reach others in need on a personal level.  
51:29
August 20, 2019
Episode 1 | Lucy Brogden: Finding a Calling for Mental Health Advocacy
Listen in to episode one of our podcast with one of the biggest names in mental health. Discover Lucy Brogden's journey into the mental health industry. Hear how she balances life as a wife and carer to husband John, how she found a calling for her passion and how she became a key driver for workplace mental health.
49:38
August 11, 2019