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.
In Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are the most at-risk group of experiencing domestic and family violence.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic and family violence workers warned there would be increased violence as a result. It is now indisputably evident that violence caused by COVID-19 has had a devastating impact, particularly on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children across New South Wales.
Here to tell us more is this week’s guest, Ash Johnstone.
Ash is an Aboriginal Dunghutti woman who grew up on Dharawal country, and is currently completing a PhD on Indigenous Education and research. She works as an Aboriginal Specialist Worker for the Illawarra Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service and is on the Board of Womens' Safety NSW. This is a state-wide peak body for women's specialist services advocating for women’s safety in the context of domestic and family violence through systemic reform and cultural change.
During this week’s podcast, Ash brings to light the key issues emerging as a result of the pandemic, with a focus on the effects being felt by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Specifically, Ash delves into how Indigenous women have experienced domestic violence during this time and the unique challenges they have faced.
Alcohol and other drug use are the leading cause of disability in young people.
Comorbidity between alcohol and drug use and mental health problems is common - and can quickly and easily have grave outcomes. Very few young people with substance abuse problems seek help, with a staggering average of 18-years between identifying they have a problem, and receiving treatment. While evidence-based treatments for youth substance abuse exist, it can take up to 25 years for this evidence to be implemented in clinical practice.
In this week’s show, we welcome Professor Leanne Hides, a clinical psychologist with over 20 years of experience in the development and testing of treatments for primary substance use and comorbid mental disorders in young people. Leanne Hides holds a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Senior Research Fellowship and the industry-supported Lives Lived Well Chair in Alcohol, Drugs and Mental Health at the University of Queensland, Australia. She co-leads the Federal Government funded grant for the Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research (CYSAR), the only youth focused substance use research centre in Australia.
Throughout our discussion, Leanne delves into evidence-based approaches for the prevention and early intervention of youth alcohol and substance use; and recent research being undertaken trying to bridge the gap between this evidence and what gets used in clinical practice.
After a traumatic event, there is the responsibility to tend to the wellbeing of attending staff and individual personnel leading a command. This includes preparing for, giving evidence in and supporting staff post-inquest. Building a response capability and a workplace where relationships are positive, respectful and supportive are the cornerstone of good outcomes.
Dedicated to building resilience in workplaces and communities is this week’s guest, Allan Sicard, trained at a National level as a Police Forward Commander in Counter Terrorism.
Allan was the Police Commander for the Mosman Collar Bomb incident August 2011, the first real test of Australia's response to a potential terrorist incident. Working with emergency partners, Allan assisted in forming a Trauma Plan should the worst have happened, allowing the rest of the non-incident community to function, while providing authorisation for the device to be removed.
4 years later and Allan was Forward Police Commander for the first 2 hours of Sydney’s Lindt Café siege. Allan was responsible for setting up a staging area for emergency agencies to work in, whilst creating a traffic plan that allowed the rest of the city to function. These first 2 hours saw the coordination of mass evacuations in the inner perimeter, all the while managing the evolving risk and briefing of relevant stakeholders.
Today, Allan prepares workplaces and communities for the next high risk event by leading large high risk event desktop exercises with 100+ stakeholders in an auditorium for a 3 hour immersion exercises, where key objectives are to learn capabilities and build trust and preparedness.
Tune in as Allan talks with me about his personal experiences in emergency response, and how we can build greater resilience and support across our different emergency service sectors.
In 2020, the health care landscape was significantly impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic. With restrictions and border closures in place, access and costs of illicit substances have impacted on the patterns of use for those with substance use disorders.
Offering insight into how COVID 19 has changed the alcohol and other drugs landscape from the perspective of a busy metropolitan emergency department worker is this week’s podcast guest Todd Sellwood.
Todd is a Registered Nurse with over 25 years’ experience in emergency, oncology, surgery and medicine in various roles. He has worked in the addiction field for a number of years and has been employed as the Alcohol and Other Drug Nurse Navigator at the Princess Alexandra Hospital for the last 18 months. Todd is a passionate advocate for the collaborative management for those presenting for care, and supports empathetic and holistic management of those seeking guidance and support for drug and alcohol use disorders. He is also a fervent supporter of dispelling myths and quashing stigmatisation of patients accessing healthcare services.
Tune in as Todd delves into the challenges of addiction in the emergency department, and how an alternate framework can better manage those needing effective, holistic, client-focussed and timely care.
Essential services, including frontline workers, carry a high stress load, resulting in more prevalent mental health conditions and an increased risk of suicide.
So, how have our frontline workers been faring over a tumultuous few years – and what can we do to help?
Here to answer these questions are this week’s guest Dr Alex West, Senior Psychologist for Victoria Police, and clinical lead in Wellbeing Services. She has a background in clinical, forensic and organisational psychology, with her current role involving overseeing psychology and mental health within the organisation, as well as the provision of psychological services.
Alex was the internal lead of the Victoria Police Mental Health Review 2016, and the clinical lead on the implementation of its recommendations. She was also the primary author of the first Victoria Police Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy.
Tune in this week as Alex joins me to reflect upon the events of 2020 and 2021, the impacts it has had on frontline workers' mental health, and what we can do to support the wellbeing of those who prioritise caring for the safety and wellbeing of others.
What does it mean to be a bloke today? And what do we want it to look like tomorrow?
The tide is changing for men young and old, and the outdated stereotype is leaving some of our mates, dads, sons, uncles, teammates, workmates and brothers stranded without the tools for a healthy life.
This week’s guest Tom Harkin is one of Australia’s pre-eminent advanced facilitators dedicated to reinventing masculinity by challenging traditional stereotypes and training our emotional muscles.
As Founder of Tomorrow Architects, a pioneering consultancy breaking ground in behavioural change, leadership development and organisational transformation, Tom has had a direct impact on over 150,000 executives across the globe, including celebrities, professional athletes in elite sport, and teenagers.
Tom joins us to share what boys and men across Australia have taught him about gaining cut-through with mainstream males, on topics that are usually taboo in our sporting clubs, schools, workplaces and communities. Tom also delves into the importance of 'no holds barred' conversations about the state of man; facing the stats and creating room to break the stereotype.
On average, Australians living in rural and remote areas have shorter lives, higher levels of disease and injury, and poorer access to and use of health services compared to those in metropolitan areas.
So, how can we improve mental health accessibility to people living in rural and remote areas?
This podcast guest, Dr Joseph Dunn, qualified Psychiatrist and medical superintendent has a solution – to get on the road.
Joseph is the author of three books, one of which sold 40,000 copies in seven languages. In 2011, he founded a national mental health charity, Psychs on Bikes, involving motorcycle-riding mental health professionals devoted to reducing the burden of psychiatric illness in rural and remote Australia. He has since ridden his Kawasaki more than 50,000 km around Australia, including three rides from Perth to Sydney.
Since its inception, Psychs on Bikes has delivered more than one thousand one-on-one free health checks in rural and remote Australia, as well as mental health support, advice, and awareness seminars.
Tune in to this week’s episode to hear Joseph tell his story of success, how Psychs on Bikes is transforming rural and remote mental health, and their latest adventure on the road.
We’re all guilty of a little too much screen time. But when we’re raising a new generation of tech-savvy users consistently glued to their devices, how can we make sure they don’t get consumed by the virtual world?
Whether its Facebook, Instagram, gaming or entertainment such as Netflix or YouTube, the common issue is a lack of ability to turn it off, or use it at the appropriate time and place.
The question to be asked is how can we empower students to take back control of the screen?
Dedicating his work to breaking the addiction of screen time in teenagers is this week’s guest Gary Bruce. Gary is an educator, writer and speaker with over 30 years of teaching and leadership experience across state and independent schools, co-educational and single sex schools, and the private sector.
He is an accredited coach with ICF, and a certified Master Practitioner with the American Board of Hypnotherapists. Gary is also the founder of Going Beyond Results providing coaching to empower students to gain control over their technology use and achieve positive outcomes. His programs focus on executive function challenges (self-organisation / time management), assessment stress and screen time addiction. Programs are run one on one and focus on the needs of the individual student.
This week, Gary joins us to discuss technology addiction in teenagers, its impacts, and how by moving teens into the driver’s seat, we can embrace empowerment for them to create their own changes.
Despite all the money the Federal and State governments have invested into domestic violence, DV homicide numbers remain at a stable rate. Why?
According to this week’s podcast guest Amy Mouafi, it comes down to a handful of factors. Amy believes a fundamental reason is the innovation of the status quo. Services are funded to deliver the same thing and there is no real 'early intervention'. Another issue, she believes, is the contradiction between rhetoric, legislation and practice.
To give you a little more background information on Amy, she is the Owner and Director of A.M Consultants & Associates, with 20 year's specialist experience within the field of violence, crime and public policy. Amy developed and implemented a diversity round table approach for complex police investigations, resulting in consulting for USA law enforcement. She has played a major role in implementing changes in how investigations and prosecutions of domestic violence in Aboriginal communities are dealt with, as well as implementing the first specialised police prosecution training and curriculum.
Join us as Amy highlights her experience in DV homicide prevention, and what she believes is needed in order for numbers to decrease.
It comes as no surprise that children who are exposed to traumatic events such as homelessness often develop social, emotional, health and behavioural problems. So, how can we prevent this from happening?
With a particular interest in child protection and meaningful support for families, this week’s podcast guest Jessica Braat believes early intervention and providing appropriate services after traumatic events is crucial for recovery.
Jessica is Team Leader of the Family Support and Advocacy Team at Micah Projects Limited. She oversees two programs funded to support families in the Brisbane area who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. Micah Projects believes that every adult and child has the right to a home, an income, healthcare, education, safety, dignity and connection with their community of choice. The team works from a two generational approach, recognising the importance of assessing needs of children, as well as adults, to ensure the right supports can be offered to achieve positive outcomes.
Listen in as Jessica takes us through how family homelessness impacts children and young people, and what services and support should be provided in order for children to properly process and recover from traumatic situations like this.
During times of disaster and crisis, there is one necessity that drives a team to focus, persist, and achieve set goals. That necessity is effective leadership.
Joining us this week to talk about leadership during times of crisis is Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons of Resilience NSW.
After a distinguished career with the NSW Rural Fire Service over 35 years, Shane was appointed as the inaugural Commissioner for Resilience NSW and Deputy Secretary, Emergency Management with the Department of Premier and Cabinet in 1 May 2020.
Throughout his career, Shane has taken on a wealth of operational and board member roles, from Assistant Commissioner with the RFS in 1998, through to Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service and Chair of the NSW RFS Bushfire Coordinating Committee in 2007.
Shane was awarded the National Medal in 1999, and the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) in 2001. His industry reputation and highly praised work ethic has made him a well-known and inspiring industry leader.
Tune in this week as Shane joins us to reflect on the disaster season across 2019 and 2020, and what he believes are the necessary skills and traits for leaders to utilise during times of crisis.
When a DV survivor decides it’s time to speak out about their situation and get help, the last thing they need is someone else telling them what to do.
As a result, many DV advocates believe the most effective approach to provide necessary services to victims - is empowerment.
Having been a victim of domestic violence for more than 16 years, this week’s guest Shirley Smith’s personal experiences cover the entire spectrum. She left her volatile situation 2 and a half years ago, struggling for support, and even had to beg for assistance as she had come to QLD from another state.
Shirley wants to educate the sector on what it is really like to live in a DV relationship. Her book ‘Becoming a Queen Again’ is about what domestic violence looks like and how get out and survive. it is also about empowerment, worth, and love. Shirley wrote this book, not only for her own healing, but as a voice for those who are unable to speak, who may be still living in violence and are unable to leave or choose to stay; or those that have left and now don't know what to do.
Now, listen in as Shirley tells her story, and how she’s actively working to empower and inspire every survivor, whatever their situation.
Since 2013, the darknet has increasingly been used for the buying and selling of illicit drugs. The rise of darknet marketplaces, also known as cryptomarkets, means that drug users are now able to access an unprecedented variety and volume of drugs sourced from dealers located all over the world. Australians are amongst the most enthusiastic participants in the darknet drugs trade, with numbers of both drug sellers and consumers using cryptomarkets steadily increasing each year across the nation.
So, what does the development of the darknet drugs trade mean for users and other participants in the illicit drugs trade, and what implications do their rise have for public health as a whole?
Specialising in cryptomarkets and the darknet trade in illicit drugs is this week’s guest, Dr James Martin. His first book helped define this emerging area of research and was cited in the trial of Ross Ulbricht, administrator of the infamous cryptomarket Silk Road. Dr Martin is a founding member of the Cryptomarkets Research Hub, an international and multidisciplinary research network focused on the online illicit drugs trade.
Listen in as Dr Martin explores how cryptomarkets function, how they alter the relationships between online dealers and their customers, and the impacts they have on addiction formation. He also tackles some of the widespread myths regarding the darknet drugs trade.
Did you know that 75% of Australians are predicted to be overweight or obese by 2025?
Neuroimaging studies have shown that high-sugar containing foods and beverages activate reward areas within the brain – that ‘reward’ appears to be more robust than those of cocaine. Brain function is significantly impacted from sugar and food over consumption.
This week’s podcast guest Professor Selena Bartlett believes the solution to solving our addiction troubles lies in our head – more specifically, how we train our brains.
Professor Selena Bartlett is a Group Leader in Neuroscience and Obesity at the Translational Research Institute. She was awarded the Lawrie Austin Award for her contributions to Neuroscience by the Australian Neuroscience Society in 2019, recipient of the Biotech Research Award and was an Ambassador for the Women in Technology organisation. The overarching objectives of her research program is to apply a neuroscientific translational research and development approach to improve sugar addiction.
Listen in as Selena delves into how sugar activates our addiction centres and changes the physical structure of the brain. Selena also discusses how she is using a neuroscience approach to combat addiction that focuses on retraining the brain.
For many Australians, White Ribbon was synonymous with the movement to end domestic violence. For others, it was a symbol of ignoring the voices of victim survivors, tokenism and taking much-needed money from women’s safety services. Now in a new chapter, under the custodianship of Communicare, White Ribbon Australia is taking a different approach – moving from awareness raising to advocacy and action; collaboration and amplifying other voices and organisations.
New Executive Director, Brad Chilcott founded and convened the Family and Domestic Violence Advocacy Network in South Australia, created the annual Adelaide White Ribbon March, is on the Board of Reconciliation SA, and was named in South Australia’s 100 Most Influential People in 2018. He has also worked as the Interim CEO of Australians for Mental Health, and as advisor to Tim Costello and the Campaign for Australian Aid, leading the “Elite Influencers” strategy.
In this week’s episode, Brad will delve into his personal journey into becoming White Ribbon Australia’s Executive Director, and share some of the changes he is focused on making in the broader movement to advance gender equality and end gendered violence.
Over the last three decades, problem gambling in Australia has been recognised as a serious and complex issue by clinicians, researchers and policy makers. Committed to actively making a change in this field is this week’s podcast guest, Dr. Gabriele Byrne, a Senior Advisor at the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation.
Often referred to as an effective ‘Change Agent’, Gabriele has spent the last 20 years assisting individuals, organisations and communities to modify their perception and attitude about gambling related harm.
Between 2009 and 2016, Gabriele designed, structured and trialled a group program to prevent gambling relapse. All programs were designed to provide participants with regular, structured activities; as well as educational sessions aimed at improving their understanding about addiction.
Results revealed significant improvement for participants in the areas of social connectedness, self-efficacy, and mental health. Importantly, results also indicated that the program supported the goals of either abstinence from, or control over, gambling behaviour for participants who completed the program. It is now hoped that the program principles will inform and improve the development of further relapse prevention programs across the addiction help sector.
Tune in this week as our ANMZH ambassador and board member, Libby Trickett has an in-depth discussion with Gabriele regarding the details of her project, the outcomes, and how we can use the results to better understand how we see, treat and recover from addiction.
When someone you love is affected by addiction, it’s hard to know how to help. However with the right knowledge, family members can play a vital role in the journey of recovery.
This week’s podcast guest Chrissie Kelly is a highly experienced Community Services Professional specialising in the alcohol and other drugs and mental health sectors. As the Queensland State Manager for Family Drug Support, Chrissie leads the Queensland team in providing support and education to families impacted by someone’s alcohol and/or drug use.
For over 22 years, Family Drug Support (FDS) has developed a highly successful model for supporting families and friends impacted by someone’s alcohol and/or drug use. This model has been effective in supporting more than 60,000 families.
This week, Chrissie and I delve into the details of the Family Drug Support model, and discuss situations that families face when supporting someone with addiction issues. This includes factors of shame and stigma, how to communicate effectively with fellow family members, and steps to actively show support.
Children are one of the most vulnerable groups during and after disastrous events.
Clinicians and educators that work with children during or after community trauma events are key to offering support and reducing the chances that children will have ongoing difficulties, however many are not sure how or what to do or say. Often, they too have been personally impacted by the events.
One woman committed to supporting these kids is this week’s podcast guest, Nicola Palfrey.
Nicola is a Clinical Psychologist and researcher who works clinically with children and families who have experienced significant adversity and trauma.
She is Director of the Australian Child & Adolescent Trauma, Grief & Loss Network at the ANU and a Project Lead for Emerging Minds: The National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health, an initiative to support workforces identify, assess and support children under 12 years who are at risk of experiencing mental illness.
Before we begin, I am also proud to announce that taking the reins for this week’s podcast is former Olympian, radio host, and our very own association ambassador, Libby Trickett.
Tune in as Libby and Nicola discuss how to effectively acknowledge and support children during and after community trauma events, the role of clinicians and educators in as well as the development of the National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health’s Community Trauma Toolkit.
In the world of violence prevention, strategies focused on bystander intervention have received growing attention. One woman committed to being an active bystander is this week's podcast guest, Vanessa Fowler.
Vanessa was a keynote speaker at our annual STOP Domestic Violence Conference a few weeks ago, and the sister of the late Allison Baden-Clay. She is also a wife, mother of two boys and aunt to three beautiful young girls who have tragically lost their mother. Vanessa is a primary school teacher and enjoys educating and shaping young minds.
As many of you listeners will be aware, Vanessa and her family were thrust into public attention following the death of Allison, who was murdered at the hands of her husband on 19th April 2012.
Vanessa and her parents turned their anger and sadness into something positive by starting a conversation around family and domestic violence. She has been a guiding force in the formation of the Allison Baden-Clay Foundation, taking on the role of a Director and Chairman of the Board.
Vanessa is on a journey to educate the community around the signs of domestic violence and teach tactics to become an active and effective bystander. As an educator, it is important to Vanessa to address the underlying attitudes and cultural beliefs that perpetuate gender inequality and socialisation that leads to violence against women and children.
Employing people with lived experience in peer worker roles to support others offer a range of benefits. They know what it is like to experience mental ill health, and can share experiences of personal recovery.
This week's podcast guest Fay Jackson is the General Manager of Inclusion at Flourish Australia, a large specialist care management organisation supporting people with mental health issues. She was the Inaugural Deputy Commissioner with the NSW Mental Health Commission and founder of independent consultancy and training body, Vision In Mind.
Fay is a leader in the Lived Experience and Peer Workforces in Australia. She sits on a multitude of national committees and collaborative working groups including the National Mental Health Commission, Vision 2030, Working Group and subcommittees.
She is a member of the National Consumer and Carer Register. She was a member of the NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation and Clinical Excellence Commission Council.
Tune in this week to find out more about Fay's background with mental ill-health, and gain insight into the peer workforce, including roles, changes, challenges, and future developments. Fay also delves into the importance of culture in supporting lived experience, as well as what Flourish Australia is currently working on, and planning for the future.
Despite being less likely to seek help, men are at the greatest risk of suicide. Blokes make up an average six out of every eight suicides every single day in Australia. One man committed to supporting men's mental health is this week's podcast guest, Dr. Zac Seidler.
Zac is a clinical psychologist, the Director of Health Professional Training at Movember and a Research Fellow with Orygen at The University of Melbourne. He has devoted the past 5 years to the goal of reducing the staggering male suicide rate, treating and researching men's mental health with over 25 published peer-reviewed articles.
Tune in to find out more about Zac's experience in men's mental health, how he defines masculinity and how he is creating the world's first online program to train mental health practitioners to engage men who are undertaking treatment.
The issue of substance use among youth is one that we see in the media almost every day. The topic is often difficult to discuss - but one man committed to spreading the word is this week’s guest, Rodney Bridge.
Rodney’s son Preston died at the age of 16, after taking a synthetic form of LSD in February 2013 during his school ball after party. Following his family tragedy, Rodney discovered the LSD substance Preston ingested was made up of a powerful synthetic hallucinogen, as well as a shopping list of other synthetic drugs. Preston lost his life that night based on one choice - and had he known what he was taking, he would have made an entirely different decision.
As a result of this tragedy, Rodney founded Sideffect, a non for profit organisation designed to educate youth on substance awareness. Sideffect aims to bring early intervention and harm minimisation strategies to schools and communities all across Australia, empowering, challenging, and educating youths to make informed decisions based on knowledge and awareness.
Tune in this week to listen to Rodney’s experience, the founding of Sideeffect, and how he is using this platform to engage youths and spark life-changing conversations.
It's that time of year again – razors are banished, Movember is in full swing, and the discussion of men's health is in the spotlight.
This week's podcast guest Brendan Maher is responsible for overseeing Movember's global suite of mental health and suicide prevention programs and investments. His key focus is on ensuring the charity's work in prevention and early intervention is able to reach and engage more men in priority populations - including fathers, young men, Indigenous men and men experiencing social isolation.
Joining the organisation in May 2019, he leads a passionate program team located across Melbourne, Toronto, London and Los Angeles.
Brendan is also a Board Member and former CEO of R U OK? – an Australian organisation most well-known for R U OK? Day, a national day of action committed to encouraging and equipping everyone to regularly and meaningfully ask "are you ok?", of anyone who might be struggling with life.
With almost 12 years' experience across Lifeline Australia, R U OK? and Movember, Brendan is a passionate advocate for suicide prevention. His contribution to the sector was recognised in 2019 with Suicide Prevention Australia's LIFE Award for Excellence in the Leadership category.
On this week's podcast, Brendan joins me to talk about how he became involved with mental health and suicide prevention, his transition from the corporate sector to non for profit, and insight into his many roles, including Movember and the challenges arising from COVID.
Recent research has indicated that early intervention and treatment in child and adolescence dramatically impact the course of mental illness.
Working extensively in acute child and adolescent mental health, this week's podcast guest Dr. Stephen Spencer (PhD) knows the importance of early intervention – and dedicates his career to educating others on how to spot the warning signs.
Stephen Spencer is Equi Energy Youth's Co-Founder and Clinical Director. His passion for young people to have optimum health and wellbeing has become his life's work, resulting in recognition as a leader amongst his peers in the Mental Health sector.
Alongside a wealth of clinical experience, Stephen regularly hosts information and training sessions for educators, clinicians, and parents and carers. The sessions provide the appropriate tools and techniques to assess the earlier warning signs of psychological distress in young people and how to effectively respond to their emotional state.
Most recently, Stephen created the Coach 2 Cope program, an evidence-based framework for psychological first aid that can be applied to any child, in any situation. This course is designed to equip adults with skills and techniques to support children experiencing acute episodes of distress and prevent recurring episodes in the future.
Listen in as Stephen and I discuss his background as a mental health nurse and his transition into working specifically with youth, all while managing acute distress.
Within the mental health space, sharing experiences is a powerful way to showcase support, while inspiring others to know they are not alone in their struggles. Committed to creating greater connected communities is this week's podcast guests, The Blackbutterfly Group.
Janice Elia, Tapu & Joe Fuiava are a trio of Pasifika people from a Samoan and Tongan heritage, born and raised in New Zealand, and currently residing in Brisbane. Tapu and Janice are sisters and both work in specialised community mental health services, while Joe works with children in crisis.
Amongst themselves, many deep discussions were had about personal challenges, as well as what was happening to family and friends, from poor relationships, mental illness to suicide. Knowing others must feel the same, they felt there must be a way to connect to people – and thus, The Blackbutterfly Group was born.
Aiming to create hopeful & growth mindsets in people through the process of storytelling, Blackbutterfly is a regular 'talanoa' host. A 'talanoa' is a cultural process, enabling people to come together to connect, share wisdom, impart wisdom, grow empathy and find a way forward through the art of storytelling.
Throughout each 'talanoa', Blackbutterfly or community members will nominate a topic ranging from Hope to Suicide and as a group, will pose a few questions to help anchor the ensuing conversations.
Listen in as I meet with Tapu to talk about their experiences with mental health, the art of the 'talanoa', and what they hope to achieve in the mental health space.
This week, we are proud to announce our newest association ambassador, Libby Trickett.
A former Australian swimmer, Libby collected 24 gold medals on the international stage across Olympic, Commonwealth Games and World Championships events. This included eight long course and seven short course world titles, five Commonwealth Games and four Olympic gold medals which were won at three consecutive Olympic Games.
After her retirement and following the birth of her first-born child, Libby suffered from post-natal depression, which was further exacerbated by the loss of a rigid training support structure.
Since retiring Libby has dabbled in TV, a sales and marketing role for a technology company, and worked as a radio announcer for Triple M in Brisbane. She is also committed to pursuing her work in mental health, publishing her memoir Beneath the Surface, as well as taking care of her three young daughters, Poppy, Edwina and Bronte.
Listen in this week as Libby and I discuss her career highs, as well as the mental challenges around being a professional athlete, her transition into retirement, challenges with motherhood, her experience with post-natal depression, and the steps she has taken (and plans to take) to prioritise her mental health.
When advocating for mental health awareness, community involvement is vital.
This week's podcast guest Trent Chapman is passionate about using his lived experience of mental health challenges to create education and awareness to his community.
Now 35 years of age, Trent was diagnosed with depressive disorder at the age of 13 and has been managing his own mental Illness since. Trent's methods of delivering the Mental Health First Aid program are far from traditional. Being extremely open in the hope to inspire, Trent uses the power of story to deliver real and personal insight to help participants better understand mental illness.
Trent is also the founder of Movement Functional Fitness, an exercise culture supporting both physical and mental health. He delivers his program 'Movement Meerkids' into schools on the Northern Rivers of NSW, using specific techniques to break down bullying and isolation and create more resilient future leaders.
Tune in this week as Trent recounts his childhood experiences growing up in Bathurst, battling a drug addiction and depression at a young age, and his experience being incarcerated at 19. Trent also updates us on what he's doing now to champion mental health in different communities, his recent diagnosis of bipolar disorder, and his current work as a Mental Health First Aid facilitator.
The psychological impacts of bullying go far beyond hurt feelings – with persistent bullying leading to depression, anxiety and contributing to feelings of suicidal behavior. One man committed to speaking up and speaking out is this week's guest, Dacre Danes.
Dacre grew up in the beautiful surfing community of Cronulla in Sydney. His adult years have seen him live all around Australia and throughout Europe, where he has had a successful fashion photography career. Dacre helped with the creation of Brisbane Fashion Month in its early days, and has been writing since he was a young man.
An avid surfer, Dacre learned to surf before he could even spell. He went through years of intense and systematic bullying that slowly led to taboo medical issues.
In his debut novel, DANYON, Dacre blurs the lines between what happens in the mind of someone who has been bullied for a long period of time. He was able to survive suicide and make it through to tell this tale. DANYON touches on his own experiences, along with others carefully wound together to form a fictional tale based on true events. This read is not only confronting, but provides hope for anyone suffering the same issues.
Dacre's mission is to reach as many people as he can with his stories – as no matter where you grew up - bullying doesn't discriminate and so much is at stake when you use your words to another as you never know if that person is about to take their own life.
Tune in as Dacre joins us to talk about his personal experience with bullying, its psychological impacts, and how he is actively speaking out to others who may be faced with a similar situation.
Alcohol is the most commonly used drug in Australia, with consumption per capita and alcohol-related harm increasing with remoteness.
People living in regional and remote areas are more likely to drink frequently or at levels harmful to their health, with various contributing factors including culture and social acceptability.
Shanna Whan is a nationally recognised speaker, blogger, and a health advocate specialising in rural alcohol awareness.
Her initiative, Sober in the Country, began as a blog in 2015 and evolved into a national Australian charity and is today a raw and authentic conversation and connection point for peers that's changing and saving lives.
Shanna's two-decade descent into alcoholism began as a trauma, then hiding behind a 'party-girl persona,' and finally - it almost cost her, her life.
Today it is her life's work to advocate for others by speaking candidly about the truth of alcohol addiction in rural Australia; a demographic she believes is being wilfully overlooked by our national health leaders.
She's a nominee in this year's Australian of the Year (Local Hero) awards, a finalist from the Rex Airlines 2020 Regional Woman of the Year, and also a 2017 finalist in the NSW ACT Agrifutures Rural Woman of the Year awards.
Shanna is passionate about sustainable people in the regional space. She is speaking up on behalf of a vast number of hard working rural men and women constantly dismissed by society, health professionals, and friends as needing support because they appear, superficially, to be ''okay''.
Join us for this week's episode as Shanna delves into her experience hitting her personal 'rock bottom', life after PTSD, and how she is actively working to inform others about the true face of what she calls ''casual alcoholism'' in rural Australia.
There are 2.1 million Australians of working age with a disability. Of these, just under half are employed. In order to boost these statistics, programs that educate and empower both employees and employers are essential.
To help people with a disability to cultivate a positive mindset and to improve their outlook on life, atWork Australia has partnered with Monash University to develop Positivum, an evidence-based assessment and health coaching program. By helping to understand thoughts, beliefs and behaviours, the Positivum Program aims to empower individuals with a disability to take charge of their mindset to increase their chances of getting employment. Heading up this project is Dorothy Frost, Manager of Research and Innovation at MedHealth Group.
Well regarded as a visionary, practical and engaging leader, Dorothy works across varied sectors including workers compensation, disability employment, and life insurance to continually refine and improve how vulnerable individuals can be supported to sustain work.
Tune in this week as Dorothy discusses the Positivum Program, what she is doing differently the second time around in isolation, and the impacts it is having on an increasing unemployment rate and the mindsets of those with a disability.
One in six New Zealand adults have been diagnosed with a common mental disorder at some time in their lives. This includes depression, bipolar disorders and anxiety disorders. One man committed to supporting those in need is Sir John Kirwan, a former New Zealand All Black rugby union player and professional rugby coach.
The former All Black and 1987 Rugby World Cup winner became a "Sir" in 2012, joining a list that includes other well-known former All Blacks. However, unlike many of his fellow All Blacks, John was recognised as much (if not more) for his contribution outside of rugby, having been for several years at the forefront of campaigns to heighten public awareness of depression, an illness he has personally suffered from at the peak of his rugby playing days.
John's services to mental health include the introduction of the Sir John Kirwan Foundation, created to deliver mental health awareness for kids, teachers, parents and the wider community, as well as the creation of a new app called Mentemia, full of evidence-based ideas and tools to help users learn how to be well, stay well and cope with the stressors of everyday life.
Tune in this week as I speak with JK about his life experiences with depression and anxiety and suicidal ideation, the stigma surrounding mental health, and learning how to thrive as an "all-black" of mental health and wellbeing.
Each year, more than 3000 Australians end their lives— this is about 8 people a day. To prevent suicide and reduce these numbers, it's important to make sure all Australians get the support they need. One professional passionate about making a change is Mr Alan Woodward.
Alan has worked in the fields of mental health, crisis support and suicide prevention for 20 years as an executive leader, service and program developer, evaluator, researcher and expert advisor to governments and peak bodies. As a Board Director for nine years and more recently as a strategic advisor on quality and innovation with Suicide Prevention Australia, Alan has significantly contributed to the national suicide prevention policy.
Alan worked for Lifeline Australia in various executive roles for 14 years until 2018, including the Lifeline Research Foundation. He is a Fellow of the Australian Evaluation Society and holds a Master's Degree in Social Science and Policy, a Business Degree in Public Administration and a Diploma in Arts/Communication.
Tune in this week as Alan discusses his professional journey and key achievements, including the progress being made in suicide prevention, and the proactive steps we can take to support both patients and carers.
As COVID continues to envelop 2020, the future of mental health has hit the spotlight – specifically, what the implications will be on individuals, society, and the industry at large.
Dr Grant Blashki has been a practising GP for 25 years and is the Lead Clinical Advisor for Beyond Blue. With almost 30 years of clinical experience, Grant has a strong understanding of mental ill-health conditions, and the important role that primary care plays in helping identify, refer and help patients get the help they need.
Grant is an author of 5 books and has co-authored over 125 peer-reviewed publications. He has also been active in helping to train GP's in China to prioritise screening for mental health.
This week, Grant discusses COVID-19 and its impact on the mental health sector, as well as the challenges faced during the pandemic, including managing workplace mental health. Grant also highlights what he believes will be the 3 main challenges that will continue to face the mental health sector in the near future: prevention, equity and the integration of digital technology.
Raising children is no easy feat – so, where can you turn when you need tried and trusted advice?
Dr Justin Coulson is one of Australia's most respected and popular parenting authors and speakers. He is sought after for his expertise in family life, relationships, and wellbeing and resilience; and the founder of 'Happy Families', in which Justin provides happiness, relationship, and parenting training to parents, teachers, and the corporate sector.
Justin and his wife Kylie have been married for 20 years and are the parents of six daughters. He is the author of the bestselling books '9 Ways to a Resilient Child', and '21 Days to a Happier Family'.
Whilst working in radio and raising his eldest daughter, Justin realised he wasn't being the dad or husband he wanted to be. He went to uni and studied psychology, completing his PhD in psychology, before spending a few years working as a researcher.
Tune in to hear Dr Coulson's insight into the key of parenting - what kids really want to be happy, some tips for parents to be better parents, challenges of parenting in today's fast paced environment, and what excites and drives him to continue to evolve as a father, husband and thought-leader on parenting and happy families
Women in rural Australia experience workplace sexual harassment at alarming rates, with a study from this week's podcast guest Dr Skye Saunders revealing 73% of rural women had experienced sexual harassment at work.
Skye is an Associate Professor in Law at the University of New England, an Employment-Discrimination Solicitor and is the Vice President of the YWCA Canberra. Skye pioneered the first research in Australia on sexual harassment in rural workplaces, contained in her book 'Whispers from the Bush- The Workplace Sexual Harassment of Australian Rural Women.'
In 2017 the Victorian Women's Trust produced a short documentary film called 'Grace Under Fire', which is based on Skye's research on workplace sexual harassment in rural Australia. In her work, Skye strives to ignite the inherent empathy and perception in both men and women as a central part of her mission to disrupt sex discrimination in the workplace.
Skye was a delegate to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York with the YWCA Australia, and was also awarded the Chancellor's Distinguished Young Alumni Award at the University of Canberra.
Listen in this week as I chat with Skye about her pioneering research into gender dynamics and sexual harassment in rural workplaces, and her framework for change.
In today's world, connection is only a click away. Meeting new people and maintaining old relationships has never been easier. But, where does our sense of belonging lie in a society that's increasingly reliant on instant gratification?
One woman who can help provide insight is Jocelyn Brewer, a Sydney-based psychologist with 16 years' experience in public schools as both a teacher and counsellor. Jocelyn is trained in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, as well as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and uses a range of creative, practical and dynamic techniques to inspire positive change.
In 2013, Jocelyn founded the business Digital Nutrition to address digital wellbeing issues and our love-hate relationship with technology. Via a selection of presentations, consultations and therapy sessions, Digital Nutrition aims to help individuals to better understand the cognitive, social and emotional impacts of the digital content we consume, and the way that digital devices impact our overall physical and mental health.
Digital Nutrition was awarded the NSW Premier's Teacher Scholarship for Health Education in 2014 and Jocelyn toured the USA in 2015 to investigate work happening in this emerging intersection of digital health and wellbeing.
Tune in to hear more about Jocelyn's tips and techniques to use digital content wisely, and discover how the underlying desire of belonging is being met through technology compared to other means used in the pre-internet era.
When working with others in need, self-care is essential. To prevent burnout, you need to be able to prioritise yourself and your own needs before effectively assisting others. Helen Gray is an experienced social worker who has experienced the impact of burnout firsthand.
Born in the UK, Helen completed her social work training in Belfast, Northern Ireland, before later moving to Sydney. Helen commenced her career as an unqualified worker doing community relations work with at risk youth and as a support worker, supporting a mix of young people at risk of homelessness and students.
Helen moved to Australia in 2003, commencing work in Sydney with homeless and at-risk youth.
After several years, necessity brought Helen back into full time work in the child and family support arena, resulting in collaborative work with the Australian Family and Community Services. Whilst loving elements of the management role, Helen experienced professional breakdown and burnout in 2015, and in June 2016 was signed off as unable to work in her social work role due to mental health concerns. This was the start of an ongoing journey of recovery and learning.
Committed to empowering other social workers to be able to support their wellbeing and professional future, Helen is leading the way with specialised social worker self-care training in moral distress, vicarious trauma, and burnout prevention.
Listen in to this week's episode as Helen talks about her personal experience with burnout, gain insight into the importance of self-care as a professional practice tool and learn simple strategies for integrating self-care into your working day.
When training the body, the power of the mind is what drives you to continue, make you stronger and gives you the push you need to take your physical fitness to the next level.
One person who knows this all too well is trainer, coach and Chinese medical practitioner Chris Miller.
Just after his 20th birthday, Chris endured his third knee reconstruction, leaving him without any ligaments in his right knee. He was told he would never walk properly or run again. At 29, Chris had a tumour cut out of his sinuses, leaving him with severe neurological issues, and again was told it would be permanent. For 6 months, he could not train, read, watch TV, or even carry his baby daughter around.
Throughout both instances, Chris followed traditional rehab methods, before beginning to experiment with unorthodox methods of reclaiming mental and physical wellness. Instead of relying on physical therapies, Chris chose to improve his body's physical and mental state via movement and mobility drills, while challenging the traditional paradigms of thinking.
After a period of continued experimentation, Chris developed PrimalThenics, a style of training created to combine clinical musculoskeletal rehab skills and coaching experience. It uniquely involves the combination of mobility drills, neurological techniques, muscle activation, crawling and high intensity calisthenics.
Since its creation, Chris has worked with a number of high profile athletes, from teams including the Wallabies, NRL and Olympic Games.
Tune in this week to find out more about Chris' journey through injury and the unorthodox training methods he has used for everyday people, kids and professional athletes to perform at the peak of their fitness.
When it comes to performing at your peak, physical and mental health play an equally important role. Professional athletes are under constant pressure to maintain a high level of focus and fitness – and here to share his secrets to success is this week's podcast guest Fijian-born Australian rugby union player Samu Kerevi.
Growing up in Fiji, at the age of 6 Samu found himself living in the Soloman islands until we was evacuated during a coup and was then put on a plane to where he thought he was going back to Fiji. Instead, they landed in Australia and were helped out by the Salvation Army. Throughout his schooling, Samu played in the Queensland Schools side and had his first taste of senior rugby when he debuted for Queensland against the Highlanders in Brisbane in 2014. In 2016, he made his Test debut for the Wallabies against England in Brisbane.
A strong grounding in faith and religion has been one of Samu's driving forces to keep him on his path, where he has seized the opportunity to visit different cultures, enjoy a highly successful career and now play professional rugby in Japan
Tune into episode 21 to hear about Samu's upbringing in Fiji, his childhood, the pressures of being a professional athlete and what drives him in his ambitions to become the best centre in world rugby.
With Pasifika and Maori youths statistically more susceptible to suicide and incarceration, the need for greater education, acknowledgement and support is essential.
As an individual of Maori and Samoan descent, Kimaea Kirifi-Aliifaalogo is on a mission to acknowledge, celebrate and uplift Maori and Samoan youths to be the best versions of themselves. She wants to educate youths to be aware of the successful Pasifika and Maori people in our communities, to hear their stories of struggle and success and to be inspired to set and achieve life goals.
In October 2019, Kimaea became a radio personality on Brisbane’s Pacific Island & Maori Youth radio show, Pacific Wave on 4EB Radio. Through highlighting Pasifika and Maori artists, Kimaea is working towards her goal which is to uplift as many Pasifika people as possible, while inspire youths to dream big.
Alongside a team of dedicated volunteers, Kimaea also started the Brisbane measles donation drive in December 2019, raising $3500 in monetary donations and sending a 40ft container filled with donations to Samoa. These donations not only helped the people of Samoa with the Measles epidemic but also the COVID-19 Pandemic.
To further her work, Kimaea has also founded Brown & Busy; a platform for like-minded Pasifika and Maori people doing it for themselves, their families, and their communities.
Tune in as Kimaea takes us through her multi-cultural upbringing and background, the challenges of now living in another country (Australia), and the importance of youths connecting to their culture.
In today’s digital world, we are now more connected than ever. Being constantly accessible brings with it a great deal of positives – but when it comes to bullying, this also means being inescapable.
As a public speaker and educator, Kirra Pendergast has presented to more than 400,000 students, teachers, and parents at schools across Australia and New Zealand, educating people and consulting organisations on the safe use of social media. She has presented at countless legal seminars, government and business events, conferences and business staff professional learning and wellbeing sessions.
In 2009, Kirra founded Australia's first consulting company, focused solely on social media security, privacy, and risk management, completing social media risk reviews for organisations ranging from 5 to over 12,000 employees.
In 2014 after experiencing serious and relentless cyberbullying and trolling, Kirra was inspired to create Safe on Social Media, a training and development business that now helps thousands of users to stay safe on social media. Her experience helped her understand in detail what victims of cyberbullying are exposed to.
Tune in to hear Kirra speak about her online experience, and the measures of cyber safety that need to be considered to reduce risk and secure safety and privacy when online.
This May 28th, 2020 has been declared the inaugural ‘LGBTI Domestic Violence Awareness Day’.
Intimate partner violence is reported at similar rates in same gender relationships to heterosexual relationships. While some studies have found even higher rates, particularly for bisexual women and trans and gender diverse people. However, given that the LGBTIQ community has struggled to gain equal legal and social recognition of their relationships, acknowledging that Domestic Violence can also occur within these requires nuanced community and service sector education.
Joining the podcast to talk about this are two people very engaged in this area in Victoria, Matthew Parsons & Russell Vickery.
Matthew Parsons is the Manager, Education and Strategic Development at Rainbow Health Victoria within The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society (ARCSHS), at La Trobe University. Matthew is one of Australia’s leading specialists in LGBTQ experiences of intimate partner and family of origin violence. Matthew leads the delivery of LGBTQ domestic violence and inclusive practice training to mainstream domestic violence services across Victoria, and has driven LGBTQ domestic violence public educational projects and media campaigns through producing and directing the innovative educational theatre piece “My Other Closet the Cabaret”.
Russell Vickery is a banker by day and a musical performer and community advocate and educator by night. Russ is passionate about dispelling the myths surrounding Domestic Violence and advocating for survivors. He is the LGBTIQ representative on the Victorian government’s Victim Survivor Advisory Council and star of “My Other Closet the Cabaret”, turning his lived-experience of surviving a violent and abusive gay relationship in to a vehicle for change. Regularly appearing on stage and in media interviews telling (& singing) his story, Russ was notably the first queer survivor of DV to share their story on national Australian television when he appeared on ABC TV’s “You Can’t Ask That” last year.
Women who have experienced domestic and family violence use health services more frequently than women who have not. By combining early identification and intervention within our health system, one woman has a concept that can revolutionise our approach to support.
As a former nurse and current social worker, Debbie McCarthy has been exposed to a number of situations pertaining to domestic and family violence. Employed as a counsellor for Human Services Taskforce in tissue retention, she has worked in various inpatient wards, and also as a Social Work Team Coordinator in the Flinders Medical Centre Emergency Department since 2004. In 2015, she was awarded the Excellence in Allied Health Award in the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network for her work in domestic violence.
In order to assist individuals impacted by domestic and family violence, Debbie established a training program and resources for staff in the ED and post-graduate nursing program surrounding screening for DV. By training workers to see the signs and inform patients of support and care, this method of early intervention can contribute to the systemic change needed to combat domestic and family violence.
Tune in to hear Debbie discuss her experiences, and how her program is being implemented to better support thousands of Australians at risk.
Rural and remote emergency aeromedical retrievals are often associated with physical accidents and incidents – but how many call outs are in relation to mental health?
To find out, the Royal Flying Doctor Service conducted an Australia-wide study on the types of mental and behavioural disorders experienced by people that received a retrieval by the Royal Flying Doctor Service. The leading reasons were found to be schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder and depression.
As the lead author on research projects including emergency and military medicine, rural and remote healthcare and pathology, Dr Fergus Gardiner has accumulated a wealth of knowledge in clinical practice. Fergus served in the Australian Defence Force before employment in large teaching hospitals and the Department of Health. Fergus is a visiting academic at the Australian National University, were he conducts epidemiology and clinical research, and is also Manager of Research and Policy at the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Tune in as Fergus describes the study conducted, and why people suffering poor mental health in rural and remote areas are more prone to seeking help only once they've hit the point of crisis.
Mental health issues are alarmingly high within emergency services. Research conducted by Beyond Blue identifies self-stigma as being of significant concern. Survey results of over 21,000 emergency services personnel reported staggering statistics around participants diagnosed with mental health issues feeling shame about their mental wellbeing, with two-thirds of diagnosed participants admitting they have avoided telling anyone about their mental health issues.
Despite indicative testing suggesting the presence of a mental health issue, many respondents were also unable to identify this within themselves.
Matt Newlands is a husband and father with 10 years-service with South Australia Police. Having been diagnosed with PTSD and depression in 2015, he fought a personal battle with suicidal thoughts. The personal refusal of his diagnosis resulted in the destruction of his personal life and the end of a policing career in very dramatic circumstances.
Enveloped in an identity crisis, Matt found his way through the darkness with the support of his family and close friends. He now lives a positive and hopeful life after 'the job' as a counsellor, peer support group facilitator with The Road Home Wellbeing Program and Community Ambassador for RUOK?
Tune in with Matt as he takes us through his personal experience, and discover how the element of self-awareness is crucial in the journey of treatment and recovery.
Seeing a loved one in distress is heartbreaking – but what happens when you feel like the professional support you reach out for isn’t enough?
Beth McEwan is a high school teacher, a mother and a widow. Her husband, Grant died after a long struggle with mental illness in October 2018. During the battle, they experienced the cracks that many fall through when trying to get support in both the public and private mental health systems.
Determined to see change, Beth started discussions with Queensland politicians in April 2019. She hopes for new specialised services specifically for mental health patients and changes to the way patients and families are supported when they leave hospital.
Tune in as Beth tells her story, and how she believes these changes can contribute to a health system designed to support families in distress.
In times of great crisis, the need for a strong and supportive community is essential. Few know this as well as Yasser El Shall.
Born in Cairo, Egypt, and immigrated to New Zealand 22 years ago, Yasser is the Service Manager for the Muslim Wellbeing Service at Kahu Tu Kaha, a Ngati Whatua organization, a not-for-profit provider of housing and mental Health Services.
With a desire to give back to the community, Yasser has volunteered for many organizations in New Zealand including Victim Support where he worked for 10 years as a support worker supporting victims of Suicide, Homicide, Family and Domestic Violence, and Sexual Violence.
As a care giver for high risk and complex needs kids in care, Yasser received ‘The Excellence In Foster Care Award’ in 2017. In 2019, Yasser received the “Pegasus Health Champion Award” in acknowledgment of his outstanding work in supporting the victims of the Mosques shooting.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Yasser at the 2020 New Zealand Mental Health Conference, where he discussed the importance of unity, strength and resilience in times of trauma and recovery. Tune in and take a listen.
By the very nature of their roles, emergency services first responders are routinely exposed to critical incidents and traumatic events. Collectively, these experiences can take a significant toll, placing first responders at high risk of developing mental health issues.
From 1986 to 2016, Peter Bellion worked with Victoria Police, spending 26 years with the Major Collision Investigation Unit attending 2000 road fatalities and 20 police deaths.
In 2007 after the Kerang Rail Disaster where 11 people were killed in a truck and train crash, he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/Injury. After having 3 months leave he returned and eventually worked back in frontline policing and crash investigation.
After another 9 years, Peter’s PTSD had progressed to the chronic stage and he also was diagnosed with major depressive disorder. 20% of his skin was covered with psoriasis and he had 35% psychological trauma injury to the brain.
Peter attended the Post Trauma Recovery Course at the Coral Balmoral Centre at the Austin Repatriation Hospital where he learnt how to manage his serious injury. He has since gone on to develop his management strategies for his injury utilising more natural therapies, such as exercise, stretching, tapping and floating. He now presents as a guest speaker at the Austin Repatriation Hospital, Men's Shed nights and the Exercise Physiology Course at RMIT.
Peter was awarded the Australian Police Medal, National Service Medal, National Police Service Medal, Victoria Police Medal and Victoria Police Star for his service.
Join me for this week’s episode as Peter discusses his valuable life experiences in frontline emergency services, his serious injury and treatment and how he has moved on in life.
Acts of violence can affect anyone. But some people, such as those with disability, may be especially vulnerable to experiencing violence, with 1 in 2 adults with a disability experiencing violence after the age of 15.
After suffering a decade of abuse at the hands of her former husband, Nicole Lee now uses her lived-experience of family violence to speak out for those who don’t yet have a voice. Nicole, who also uses a wheelchair, focuses on family violence perpetrated against those who have a disability, or who depend on carers or family members for support. In July 2016, Nicole was appointed to the Victim Survivors’ Advisory Council. Further to her work, Nicole uses her public profile to advocate and speak out for those who have, or are, experiencing family violence. Recent appearances on television, radio and print media shows Nicole’s drive and commitment to changing the lives of women and children throughout Victoria.
Listen in to this week’s episode as Nicole delves into how intimate partner carers can use coercive control as a form of domestic abuse, redefining our concepts of vulnerability and agency. This furthers our understanding of how intimate partner violence systematically breaks people down, while highlighting the added barriers people with disabilities face and the internal fears they hold when trying to leave a violent situation.
As part of the National Suicide Prevention Trial, the Australian Government is supporting the implementation and evaluation of twelve suicide prevention trial sites across Australia. One of the individual’s responsible for its implementation is Stuart Auckland.
Stuart is the Coordinator of the Community Health Development Program Area at the Centre for Rural Health (CRH) at the University of Tasmania. He has extensive experience in the design and implementation of community-based models of health service delivery. This experience includes Stuart’s current role as co-investigator of the Tasmanian component of the National Suicide Prevention Trial.
As part of the National Suicide Prevention Trial, strategies are being implemented by community structures at three Tasmanian sites to prevent suicide at a local-level, and for at-risk populations. The local evaluation is focusing on key process outcomes such as the effectiveness of local governance structures, the efficacy of frameworks and supporting capacity building.
Listen in as Stuart discusses the outcome of these strategies, and what has been learnt so far in our national approach to suicide prevention.
Warning: This week’s episode deals with potentially triggering issues relating to domestic violence.
If you feel at any time that you need help or support, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Simone O’Brien is a domestic violence survivor, speaker, strong advocate for women against violence.
Her journey started in 2012, when she suffered a horrific attack at the hands of a perpetrator who would not take “no” for an answer. It started with emotional and psychological abuse and ended up with her being beaten with a baseball bat to within inches of her life.
Somehow, with the support of family and friends, Simone got through that night and today, after 52 operations and 7 years of on going treatment, she travels around Australia to share her story of courage and strength, to raise awareness on the red flags related to domestic violence and prevent these incidences from happening again.
Tune in as Simone shares her personal story of determination, resilience, courage and strength, and how she is championing non-violence against women and children.
Adolescence represents a time of significant physical, psychological and cognitive change for young people. With this, is a time of potential vulnerability for the development of mental health issues in the context of young people's lives.
Unfortunately for Indigenous people they have higher rates of issues stemming from multiple rumours that impact on social and emotional well-being. One of these is developmental trauma, increasingly recognised as a significant issue for children but in particular for young Indigenous Australians. Developmental trauma itself can present in multiple different ways. With that it can also unfortunately the misdiagnosed and therefore mistreated.
Dr Marshall Watson is an Aboriginal man and descendant of the Noongar people of the South West of Western Australia. Working as a child and adolescent forensic psychiatrist in South Australia, he is the clinical lead of the Forensic Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service.
Tune in Dr Watson delves into the impact of indigenous and non-indigenous practitioners being clinically and culturally aware of issues relating to developmental trauma in indigenous adolescents, and how to manage them appropriately whilst preserving self-care.
In order for positive and successful culture changes to happen in any workplace, there needs to be a change of attitudes at all levels.
With a background in Psychology, Mark Molloy first joined West Midland Ambulance Service (UK) on a graduate entry Paramedic program. He has enjoyed a varied and decorated career spanning more than 16 years in both England and Australia.
As an experienced Intensive Care Paramedic and Operations Manager for the ACT Ambulance Service, Mark has a strong reputation in both clinical and managerial standards. His background spans most areas of Ambulance, including Hazardous Area Response Team, Emergency Management, Incident Response and Command and Control. Following his passion, Mark is currently a professional trainer in the Canadian ‘Road to Mental Readiness’(R2MR) Program, as well as a Lifeline Crisis Support Volunteer - this recently saw him slip seamlessly into a Business Development and Corporate Trainer role for Lifeline Canberra.
Mark is highly driven and personally motivated to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. He enjoys actively promoting positive change within work cultures that encourage early access to care; especially within the world of Frontline Emergency Services.
Join me alongside Mark on this week's episode of Pebble in the Pond, as we delve into the positive impact that evidence-based educational programs have on encouraging a long term, mentally healthy workplace.
For nearly twenty years, Menslink has supported young men in Canberra affected by family violence. However the issue is getting worse. Patterns of violent behaviour are being entrenched without early intervention. Research and data show there are many root causes for violence and not one operates in isolation.
Martin Fisk has led Menslink's efforts to support young men through difficult times (like violence and mental health issues) for nearly ten years.
A strong advocate of strengths-based approaches, Martin designed the award-winning Silence is Deadly campaign in 2012 which now reaches over ten thousand male students each year, encouraging them to seek help rather than self-harm or harm against others.
Tune into episode 6 as Martin discusses the importance of working with young men and boys, and encouraging getting support rather than resorting to shaming approaches.
In a bid to become Australia’s most mentally healthy city, Townsville has embarked on the Mentally Healthy City (MHC) project, aiming to help citizens flourish and thrive as a community. This is achieved by heightening the focus on mental wellness and assisting individuals and organisations to better support those people who from time to time may be mentally unwell.
As a Project Manager, Brendon Marty is leading the Mentally Healthy City Project for the Tropical Brain and Mind Foundation. A passion for community, technology, and a family history in mental health awareness and support is the driving force behind his pursuit of the role.
Tune in this week as I speak with Brendon about the Mentally Healthy City (MHC) project, the elements of a ‘mentally healthy city’ and how it has transformed Townsville into building awareness and reducing stigma associated with mental health.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.