Mental Health Employee or Volunteer Excellence Award

Presented by Lotterywest
This award recognises an outstanding contribution to mental health in WA by an individual employed or volunteering within WA's mental health sector (private, public or not-for-profit) or workplace mental health champion acrosse any organisation. 
To nominate for the 2023 Employee or Volunteer Excellence Award click here

2022 Winner:

Ann McGuire, Mental Health Matters 2

Over the past five years Ann McGuire has taken up several volunteer roles within Mental Health Matters 2 (MHM2), a lived-experience-led charity and Families 4 Families WA (F4FWA), a bi-monthly wellbeing and education group for family members and significant others. Ann has dedicated a significant amount of time, energy and expertise to her volunteer (unpaid) roles, rendering her contributions particularly generous and donated as a retiree. She has continued to train to ensure her knowledge and skills had the utmost value in her roles, despite not being an employee. Recent roles and responsibilities Ann has held include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing peer facilitation for the bi-monthly F4FWA group;
  • Representing MHM2 or F4FWA at sector forums, consultations and in sector-level and specific-focus committees, including most recently as the MHM2 representative on the Sector Reference Group for the WA Lived Experience (Peer) Framework Development project;
  • Co-writing and reviewing grant proposals; and
  • Participating in research and co-design processes and ensuring the perspectives of family members and significant others were meaningfully included in the processes and outcomes.

2022 Finalists:

Kelson Mudd, Men's Recovery Community

Kelson Mudd draws on his own lived experience of alcohol, homelessness and receiving inpatient rehab treatment and transitional housing assistance to help others who are in similar situations through his work with the Men’s Recovery Community (MRC). In 2021 Women’s Health and Family Services collaborated with MRC to start an in-person peer support group for men, which Kelson facilitated twice a week and had an average attendance of 10 participants. He completed the Educator Foundation Program for the WA Recovery College Alliance and co-produced a course titled ‘Navigating Life with a Criminal Record’, which he presents every term and is currently working on another co-produced course titled ‘Alternative Pathways to Recovery’. Further adding to his contribution to the peer support sector, he also completed 19 hours of training to acquire a certificate in Alternatives to Suicide Facilitators’ Training in November of 2021 through the collaboration between Connect Groups and Western Mass Recovery Learning Community. Kelson, started an Alternatives to Suicide peer support group, Navigating the Darkness, in Midland that meets once a fortnight and he provides phone support if necessary. Kelson holds a safe space for participants in his peer support groups and continuously demonstrates they are all valued.

Regina Cruickshank, Yogazeit

Regina Cruickshank is the founder and chief executive officer of Yogazeit Ltd, a health promotion charity focused on empowering underserved communities with evidence-based mindfulness and movement which was established in 2018. Regina believes everyone should be able to access the benefits of mindful breathing, movement and relaxation; and has made it her mission to share the practice respectfully and passionately with those in need. She has shared her gift of accessible yoga with hundreds of older adults at aged care or residential living facilities, bringing joy to people living with dementia, Parkinson’s disease and cancer. Focusing on mental health, physical fitness and social connection – one breath at a time – she has volunteered thousands of hours to share the benefits of yoga and mindfulness with remote Aboriginal communities, and with children and seniors. Regina had a significant volunteer contribution to the Ngaanyatjarra Lands School Project, Australia’s first culturally-relevant, trauma-informed, co-designed two-way-learning Mindful Movement Education Project. Dedicated to empowering social and emotional wellbeing for one of Australia’s most remote regions, Regina led the project to support educators, students, Aboriginal community members and staff with ‘mindful movement’ education. The project equipped Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal teachers, staff and community members with culturally relevant training, curriculum and ready-to-use mindful movement lesson plans to further their skills, knowledge and confidence in independently teaching yoga and mindfulness in the classroom and beyond.

Zac Cawdron, Youth at Risk Network

Zac Cawdron is a young person who wears various hats in the mental health and community sector. He has volunteered as a youth representative and committee member with the Youth at Risk Network (YARN) since 2020 and became chair of YARN in December 2021. YARN is a collaborative network comprising several stakeholders within the inner-city area, providing support to disadvantaged and marginalised young people. Among his chairman responsibilities, Zac coordinated a music competition and art exhibition with YARN in 2021 which provided a platform for young people to showcase their talents, engage with and learn about support services and still provides an opportunity for warm referrals. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Zac’s oversight of YARN prevented it from dissipating. He also established a partnership with Neami National in 2021 and expanded funding, collaboration and further opportunities by the promotion of mental health awareness messages. Zac has also a been volunteer member of the Be Seen Be Heard PICYS (Perth Inner City Youth Services) committee group since 2020 and coordinated the 2021 Youth Week event. He is also a member of the WA Mental Health Commission Youth Steering Group and facilitated Project Elevation and had a key role Young People’s Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drug Use: Priorities for Action 2020-2025 Report on Implementation 2021 report by submitting a portfolio of artwork by people with lived experience. He consistently engages with young people outside of his work hours to ensure they are provided opportunities in the youth and arts sector.