The WA Mental Health Conference 2022 provides a dynamic space to enhance knowledge and shared perspectives among the mental health workforce, people with lived experience, community members and professionals whose work relates to mental health and wellbeing.
Australian of the Year 2021, survivor & advocate
Grace Tame is an outspoken advocate for survivors of sexual assault, particularly those who were abused in institutional settings.From age 15, Grace was groomed and raped by her 58-year-old maths teacher, who was found guilty and jailed for his crimes. However, under Tasmania’s sexual-assault victim gag laws, Grace couldn’t legally speak out about her experience – despite the perpetrator and media being free to do so.
Grace has demonstrated extraordinary courage – using her voice to push for legal reform and raise public awareness about the impacts of sexual violence.
In 2021, Grace was recognised as the Australian of the year, the Australian Financial Review's most culturally powerful person and one of Time magazine's next generation leaders.
She is a regular guest speaker for high-profile events and television programs and uses her media profile to advocate for other vulnerable groups in the community.
Grace is a strong role model for the power of sharing your personal story, framing your experience, reflecting on trauma and healing; and being an advocate for change.
As the emphasis of this year’s conference is on the trauma-informed principles and mental health best practice, Grace will share her personal recovery journey with delegates and the supports and relationships which made a difference.
Professor Nicholas Procter
Professor Nicholas Procter has a long-standing interest in trauma and distress, and is currently Australia's national representative to the International Association for Suicide Prevention (until 2023), and a member of the Steering Committee for the National Stigma and Discrimination Reduction Strategy. He has completed advanced training in trauma-informed practice with the United States Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and as a Psychological Autopsy Investigator with the American Association of Suicidology.
Nicholas is chair of Mental Health Nursing and director of the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research and Education Group, University of South Australia Clinical and Health Sciences.
He is a recipient of SA’s Margaret Tobin Award and Partnering with Lived Experience Award. More recently, he has assisted government and community groups in the development of trauma-informed resources with people of refugee background, as well as for use during the COVID-19 pandemic, after bushfires and in the context of forensic mental health and quality and safety in healthcare.
Haseeb Riaz & Gareth Shanthikumar
MAN UP co-founders
Haseeb Riaz and Gareth Shanthikumar, the co-founders of MAN UP, have had their fair share of challenges in growing up and understanding what it meant to be a man, particularly transitioning from high school to the ‘real world’. Both coming from all-boys schools in Perth, they were never formally taught how to deal with negative emotions, how to navigate healthy relationships, or how to help out a mate going through tough times.
Haseeb and Gareth had to learn about all these important life lessons through their own experiences. After entering university, and only after making countless mistakes on their own, they realised there was a common problem most young men faced – negative stereotypes of masculinity were harming young men’s wellbeing, relationships and overall health. Most young men only stop to take inventory of their life after some sort of tragedy or loss, but Haseeb and Gareth were adamant on changing this story. With a common goal of helping other young men, MAN UP was borne.
Haseeb and Gareth stress the importance of embodying what they preach. What it means to be a good man simply means to be a good human first, and so this is something they strive to live by every single day, and in doing so, hope to inspire others to do the same.
Dr Louise Byrne
Recognised internationally as a thought leader in the area of lived experience workforce development, Dr Louise Byrne has led a large body of work on this topic.
Louise has been awarded several times for outstanding contributions, held expert/advisory roles, and led policy development at state and national levels, including the National Lived Experience Workforce Development Guidelines. She identifies as a lived experience researcher with a personal experience of significant mental health challenges and periods of healing and is employed as a senior research fellow at RMIT.
Previously Louise was awarded a prestigious Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholarship to conduct research on the peer workforce in the United States. Her Fulbright research was based at Yale University, where she holds an assistant professor adjunct position.
Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson
WA Minister for Health and Mental Health
First elected to WA Parliament in 2013 for the East Metropolitan Region, Amber-Jade Sanderson then went on to win the lower house seat of Morley in 2017. In the government’s first term led by Mark McGowan, she served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier; Minister for Public Sector Management; State Development, Jobs and Trade; Federal-State Relations; Parliamentary Secretary of the Cabinet.
Amber-Jade was crucial in delivering WA’s Voluntary Assisted Dying laws. As the chair of the Joint Select Committee on End of Life Choices, she oversaw extensive community consultation, a year-long parliamentary inquiry and debate, and finally the passing of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill.
On 21 December 2021, Amber-Jade Sanderson was sworn in as Minister for Health; Mental Health. Prior to this she was the Minister for Environment; Climate Action; Commerce.
Before entering Parliament, she was assistant secretary at United Voice and remains passionate about the protection of working people’s rights.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Journalism) and lives in Bayswater with her partner Philip and two children.
Happiness Co chief executive officer & founder
Julian Pace is one of Australia’s emerging voice in happiness, emotional wellbeing, and lived experience mental health.
As the founder of Happiness Co, he has the goal to positively impact 10 million lives in 10 years. He's an engaging presenter that uses his own story to create the best environment for your team to gain an understanding of what it really takes to create fulfilment and happiness.
Julian has given keynote presentations at the three largest mental health conferences in the country, he was an Australian of the Year finalist, Mentor of the Year award winner, a National Small Business Champion and is dedicated to using his powerful story to inspire others to overcome everyday challenges in order to create and sustain their own happiness.
Spectrum associate director
Cathryn Pilcher is the associate director of Spectrum – a statewide service specialising in personality disorders and complex trauma. She is also an occupational therapist with more than 15 years experience in mental health, with expertise in working with people with personality disorders.
Her clinical background as a passionate dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) therapist saw her become an integral part of setting up the first regional DBT informed program in WA. In her role at Spectrum, Cathryn provides clinical leadership and drives the strategic direction of the organisation. She has been instrumental in developing a core competency framework for working with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and has trained clinicians across Australia in both core competencies and DBT.
Cathryn has worked extensively with people with personality disorders and co-existing conditions, and has translated this experience into skills for people working with those experiencing complexity, providing secondary consultation and supervision to clinicians and teams across all sectors throughout Australia.
More broadly, Cathryn has a keen interest in service development in public and private health systems developing models of care, team process, capacity building and workforce development. She is a passionate advocate for embedding access to appropriate and supportive treatment options for people with personality disorders and complex trauma within services. She is also a strong advocate for the role of the lived experience discipline in services, and has been integral to further developing the lived experience workforce at Spectrum.
Associate Professor Mat Coleman
Highly experienced psychiatrist, Associate Professor Mat Coleman specialises in rural and remote health, and is a clinical director of public mental health services in two regions of WA.
Mat is the inaugural chair of rural and remote mental health practice with the University of WA, and works with research and teaching colleagues in the Rural Clinical School of WA. He is an advocate for mental health training and workforce development that is fit for purpose, and resident in regional, rural and remote Australia and New Zealand and has served two terms as a commissioner with the National Mental Health Commission.
Mat lives in the Great Southern and runs a small sheep and tree farm in his spare time.
Hyranthi Kavanagh is the clinical psychologist and head of department of Clinical Psychology and Clinical Neuropsychology at Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group (FSFHG).
With more than 20 years of experience in clinical practice and teaching in the WA Department of Health and the National Health Service in London, the past 15 years of Hyranthi’s career have encompassed a variety of clinical and operational leadership roles within the Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group (FSFHG), being the senior clinical psychology coordinator at Royal Perth Bentley Hospital Group, working at City Catchment Community Mental Health Service and practising as a clinician in private practice.
Hyranthi has led and delivered a range of initiatives, including: the pioneering work during the COVID-19 pandemic in supporting our health care staff understand, manage and respond to the pandemic and its psychological sequelae; a joint initiative to establish Team First Aid (TFA) and Psychological First Aid (PFA) for all staff post-critical events with medical education across FSFHG; the establishment and appointment of a hospital-based senior clinical psychologist to further extend, develop and deliver staff psychological wellbeing and support (PWS) to health care workers.
Hyranthi is a strong advocate for equitable and timely access to specialised psychological therapies within health and the maintenance of rigorous professional and clinical practice standards.
She holds a Master's degree in Psychology (Clinical and Health) and a Statement of Equivalence in Doctor of Psychologist (BPS) and is also a founding member of the Australian Clinical Psychology Association.
Professor Brin Grenyer
Project Air Strategy director
As a senior professor of psychology at The University of Wollongong, Professor Brin Grenyer leads the ground-breaking Project Air Strategy for Personality Disorders, in partnership with NSW Health, to drive better care for people with personality disorders.
Project Air was the first in the world to develop a ‘whole of service’ approach to improving the treatment of personality disorders. Prof Grenyer has written extensively on using a stepped care approach for the treatment of personality disorders and how it can be an effective method for reducing the pressure on hospital services. The model has been adapted in many other areas including South Australia, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory, parts of Victoria and in Canada.
At the conference, Prof Grenyer will discuss how stepped care has taken a trauma-informed approach, utilised the lived experience workforce and brought families together. He will demonstrate how stepped care can lead to the mental health system becoming more sustainable and can be used as a tool to overcome challenges facing the system.
Uncle Nick Abraham
Nick Abraham with be delivering the Welcome to Country on the first day of the conference, which will include performing a cleanse and smoking ceremony down by the Swan River on the morning before proceedings begin.
He is a family man with wife Charmaine and they have five children, more than 25 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Growing up in the city, Nick spent his teenage years in and around the native reserves of the Great Southern, before permanently returning to Perth in 1979.
While he ever completed secondary education, he went on to become a licenced electrician and completed the Bachelor of Business Administration at the University of Technology, Sydney. He is also a volunteer with numerous Aboriginal community controlled organisations which strive to improve education, housing, justice, sports and wellbeing outcomes.
Nick is the owner and lead guide at Warrang-Bridil, which is a 100 percent Aboriginal-owned and operated cultural business in Perth.
Nick’s vision is to ‘close the gap’ on his people’s disadvantage.
Dr Sian Jeffery
Senior clinical psychologist coordinator & DBT coordinator
Dr Sian Jeffery is senior clinical psychologist coordinator and has been the coordinator of the dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) programs at Fremantle Mental Health Service (FMHS) since 2009. Dr Jeffery was involved in the establishment of both the comprehensive year-long DBT program and a 20-week DBT skills group at FMHS.
Sian has completed DBT training with Behavioral Tech (Marsha Linehan’s research and training organisation), as well as with the Portland DBT Institute. She is also trained in radically open DBT (RO DBT) for disorders of overcontrol and has established a comprehensive RO DBT program at her service. Sian overseas the research and evaluation of the DBT programs at Fremantle Mental Health Service.
She has a keen interest in personality disorders and was involved in the establishment of a state-wide Personality Disorders Interest Group in WA, of which she was the inaugural chair. Sianis the current chair of the Personality Disorders Sub Network Steering Committee, which developed the Statewide Model of Care for Individuals with Personality Disorders for WA. She has been an invited reviewer for journal articles in this area and has provided numerous presentations and workshops on working with borderline personality disorder and DBT around Australia and overseas. Sian provides regular supervision in DBT and consults to many public and private services across Australia as they established and run their own DBT programs.
Note: Sian's presentation will be pre-recorded and available to view on the virtual conference platform.
With over 20 years experience as a journalist and presenter with ABC Radio, Di Darmody is a well known – and popular – voice for listeners in Perth and throughout Western Australia.
Di has presented ABC Radio Perth Breakfast, Mornings, Afternoons, Drive, Saturday Breakfast, The Country Hour as well as National Nightlife. She has also worked on National Grandstand, AFL and WAFL coverage and hosted a variety of regional and state-wide programs across Western Australia.
Now Di is a sought-after professional MC, interviewer, facilitator and conference host, working across WA as well as for national organisations – either in person or virtually.
We are excited to have secured some of the most inspiring minds from around Australia and the world representing a range of professions, experiences, genders, cultures and ages.