At just 13 years old and in year 8, Julian Pace left school after being bullied and teased. He could not read or write properly and suffered severe dyslexia. He has since succeeded in teaching himself to read and write.
In 2008, on Julian’s 21st birthday, his father took his own life. Within the next two years, his cousin died suddenly, and his best friend took their own life (within a week of each other). After these tragedies, Julian’s mental health plummeted. His dad had been a role model to him and was his best friend, and Julian’s life completely changed when his dad died. After the third death in two years, Julian became someone who hated himself and he went down the wrong path. He could not recognise himself in the mirror and attempted suicide multiple times.
After a few years, Julian decided to change his life when he realised the amount of pain he was causing his mother, family and friends. He saw that happiness was a journey, not a destination and always needed working on. He learnt to change his ‘blueprint’ and wanted to help others. Julian wanted to prevent families from going through the pain that his did. While working with various foundations on awareness, Julian realised that awareness alone would not be enough to genuinely change behaviour Australia-wide. From here, he committed to creating his company - Happiness Co, which is underpinned by Julian’s passion and deep desire to create true widespread change around the world.
Kristen Orazi, affectionately known as KO within her workplace, is a mental health ‘all star’. KO is a clinical social worker, previously the manger of headspace Broome and now the mental health executive at the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service (KAMS). KO is a clinician, mental health champion, advocate and an ally for decolonised mental health models such as the Social and Emotional Wellbeing programs delivered by Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations (ACCHOs).
KO promotes a mentally healthy workplace at KAMS and is always bringing mental health and social and emotional wellbeing to the forefront of the conversation. This is evident with headspace Broome being a leading headspace service nationally, especially in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service use. Additionally, the emphasis KAMS has placed on mental health as a service provider since KO was appointed as the inaugural mental health executive further demonstrates her ‘all star’ status.
Professor Juli Coffin
Professor Juli Coffin is an outstanding creative researcher in health and education with a remarkable track record of leadership among professionals and communities. An Aboriginal woman with traditional ties to the Pilbara region, she entered the foster care system as a child and was later adopted, growing up in various locations across the Pilbara and in Perth. She is a former elite water polo player – the first Aboriginal person to represent Australia nationally – as well as being a talented, highly intelligent researcher (currently Ellison Professor of Aboriginal Research at Telethon Kids Kimberley), teacher, passionate horsewoman, Equine Assisted Learning Practitioner, trainer and mother.
Deeply committed to cultural security, community and connection, Juli has spent more than three decades combining her diverse talents to tackle some of Australia’s most complex, entrenched challenges, in particular Aboriginal suicide, violence and mental health.