Learn more about the Employee Excellence Finalists

The Employee Excellence Award presented by Eric Dillon Consulting recognises an outstanding contribution to mental health in WA by an individual employed or volunteering within the mental health sector.

Dorte Dyrbye, Zonta House Refuge Association

Dorte has worked for Zonta House for three and a half years. Dorte started in a case manager role supporting women at risk of family and domestic violence through our supported crisis and transitional accommodation. In 2017, Zonta House developed the Dual Diagnosis and Crisis Accommodation Integration Plan which is a unique program supporting women who have experienced family and domestic violence and mental health and/or alcohol and other drug issues.

The role created was a Dual Diagnosis Worker (DDW) who has mental health, substance use and PTSD training, and accesses workforce development training with the Drug and Alcohol Office and works within the Mental Health Commission and WANADA Strategic Plans.

There is no similar role at Zonta House or any other refuge service that provides the comprehensive support and care that Dorte does within her role - she has been integral in the development, implementation, delivery and ongoing evaluation of the program. 

Dorte is committed to providing leading practice in the delivery of support to women in individual and group settings and also in the education of her peers internal and external to Zonta House. Dorte has committed herself to continuous development with the majority taking place in her own time away from fulltime employment.

Within the first two years of the program Dorte has facilitated 859 individual appointments, and there has been a 68% decrease in the overall scores of depression, anxiety and stress from intake to exit and a 27% reduction in women returning to violent partners, and increased engagement with training and other services.

Dr Anand Deshmukh, WA Country Health Service, Pilbara

Dr Anand is a dedicated and high achieving paediatrician who is passionate about the mental health of children in Pilbara and also where ever he has worked before or even with his locum work. 

He has worked for 11 years now in the regional WA (Pilbara) and helped hundreds if not thousands of families in need for Mental Health Assessments and also support for the parents to help look after the children and adolescents having major mental health issues and also in crisis situations where there is no CAMHS services available. 

Dr Anand is described as a "one man army" as he is the only Paediatrician in the whole region with minimal support or no support locally from CAMHS in terms of Psychiatrist and with very strict rules of engagement with CAMHS most referrals getting rejected, he has been a great support for these families.

To his credit is his humble and very nurturing attitude and also willingness to help in his own time, without looking for financial rewards and also passion for indigenous health makes his very special person to deserve this award.

Shivani Lala, Southern Cross Care

Shivani has carved out an extraordinary study and work history within the WA mental health sector, which is quite outstanding for someone who is just twenty five years of age.

She completed a Certificate 3 in Aged Care in 2012 and Bachelor in Psychology in 2016. In conjunction with working full time, she is currently studying and working towards achieving a Postgraduate Certificate in Forensic Mental Health. She has completed volunteer work with Headspace and assisted with research work, guided by her thesis supervisor, focusing particularly on what factors prohibit young people from seeking help.

Shivani started working at Southern Cross Care (SCC) in 2011 as an Aged Care Volunteer. So impressed were her supervisors, she was offered a casual position in 2012 and the opportunity to complete a Certificate 3 in Aged Care during that same year. For the next four years, Shivani continued working for SCC in a casual capacity whilst she embarked on her Bachelor Studies. This work experience led her to gain skills in a series of roles including carer, physio assistant and activities officer. During this time she also carried out some clinical work and became aware of the gaps existing in mental health treatment for older adults. In 2017, Shivani transferred to SCC’s Mental Health and Disability Department in the role of Community Options (CO) Recovery Partner.

Shivani has purposefully shifted the entire approach to leading the SCC Community Options Team from an operational role to one that concentrates importantly, on leading by example, creating motivation and sharing responsibility with residents, staff and external stakeholders. She has been driven in creating consistency and culture across this program, a culture that recognises the rights, roles and responsibilities of all parties involved within it. The point of difference is that Shivani then has the expectation that she and all other parties, will step up, embrace and fulfil those roles.

Another difference in her approach to the role is that Shivani has had past work experience and insight into each and every staffing position within the program. As such, she understands the challenges staff face on a daily basis and is able to offer prompt and practical solutions which may actually include her assistance. She delegates fairly and acknowledges areas of achievement and improvement in a realistic and honest manner. She does however do what needs to be done at every level and sees no work as beneath her or not within her role.

Kadi Turner, Kambalda West District High School

Working in a challenging and complex environment where 89% of families are in the bottom 50% of income and education in Australia, employment is declining due to a downturn in mining, student and staff transience is high, interagency and other health support services are limited and mental health issues in students between the ages of 7 – 16 are increasing exponentially may not be an environemnt many people could strive in. But for four and a half years, Kambalda West District High School (KWDHS) has been incredibly fortunate to have had the services of an outstanding School Psychologist, Ms Kadi Turner, who has been integral to the recent transformation of the school in how it meets the needs of its students (Classroom First – Distinctive Schools).

Ms Turner has built trusted relationships (as stated in the Classroom First directive of Success for all students) with students, parents, staff and community and has become an indispensable asset not only to the KWDHS Leadership team, but to the wider Kambalda community.

Due to the unique environment KWDHS presents, Ms Turner has a large caseload of students aged 4 to 16 that require diverse and holistic management. Ms Turner’s work is governed by strategic planning documents for government schools to ensure that she is assisting the school to address the state and government priorities as well as the individual school’s business plan and operational plans.

Ms Turner is highly trusted by students across the school. This is evident by the number of students who self-refer to her when they have personal issues. She is highly intuitive and has a strong understanding of mental health issues, an asset in our school, where we have 21 out of 23 students in one year level cohort with whom we have identified concerns. Ms Turner understands the diverse range of cultures she is working with and the implications this has for the school and the community. Drawing on the Aboriginal Cultural Standards Framework as a guide to catering for all aspects of a child’s background and development, she has worked collaboratively with the leadership team to modify a district profiling document for each secondary year level across the school that identifies at risk students across all areas ranging from social / emotional to academic to peer relationships to attendance.

"We work in a challenging school and some days are tough," KWDS principal Kayla Quinn said. "Whilst it is not measured as criteria, a key asset that Ms Turner brings to the table in terms of creating a positive culture in our school is her positive outlook. There are days when all you need is someone to listen to you, and on those days, Kadi is your strongest asset. She has a way of checking in with you when you most need it, letting you know when a colleague might need a coffee, or leaving a post it on your keyboard to know how much you are valued. Sometimes it is the smallest thing you do that is the most important to others, and that is what makes the difference."

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