Winners of this year’s 2018 ACT Mental Health Awards

Released 09/10/2018

This year’s Mental Health Award recipients represent the outstanding commitment of individuals and organisations to challenge stigma around mental health and improve outcomes for wellbeing and suicide prevention in the ACT.

In announcing the awards ahead of World Mental Health Day (10 October), Minister for Mental Health Shane Rattenbury said this year’s awards attracted high calibre nominations from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

“This number of nominations demonstrates a strong willingness and commitment of the community to improve the delivery of mental health services in the ACT,” Minister Rattenbury said.

“The Mental Health Awards recognise the individuals and organisations in our community, who make an enormous contribution to the mental health sector in the ACT and by doing so, enrich our community through their work by sharing their stories.”

Minister Rattenbury said that Mental Health Month gives us all the chance to share the message that it’s okay to get help for mental illness and it’s a sign of strength, not weakness.

“Through raising awareness and promoting mental health and wellbeing we increasingly break down the stigma associated with mental illness,” Minister Rattenbury said.

“Having consumers and carers involved in the sector has been an integral part in the ongoing development and reform work happening in the delivery of mental health services, which has also resulted the development of a number of new initiatives.”

These include:

  • The establishment of the Office for Mental Health and Wellbeing which will address fragmentation across the service system;
  • The development of new models of care and enhancements to services for adults, young people, people with eating disorders and older people;
  • The formation of a joint, regional Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan; and
  • The implementation of the ACT LifeSpan Suicide Prevention Framework.

“As Minister for Mental Health, I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge our mental health care professionals and our community mental health partners for all the hard work and dedication you show in caring for those in our community that need support.

“I also want to acknowledge the ACT Mental Health Community Coalition on all the activities that are taking place throughout the month.

“I look forward to participating in these events and encourage Canberrans to check out the program online and get involved,” Minister Rattenbury said.

The theme for Mental Health Month this year is ‘Identity and Growth’ and relates to knowing who you are, accepting the past and growing into the future.

This year’s Award winners are outlined below.

Photos and audio from the event will be made available on request.  

For more information on mental health week activities, visit:

Winners of the 2018 ACT Mental Health Month Awards

2018 Mental Health Month Consumer of the Year—Matthew MartinAs a member of the ACT Mental Health Consumer Network, Matthew has been working with the Mental Health, Justice Health and Drug Support Services division of the ACT Health Directorate as a consumer representative for approximately five years.  Matthew not only gives his time voluntarily to contribute to, and improve, the mental health system in the ACT, he is a contributing member on several ACT health committees and is the ACT representative on the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum.  Matthew also participated in the opening of the Secure Mental Health Unit, Dhulwa, sharing his story of having mental illness and his experience with the criminal justice system.

2018 Mental Health Month Carer of the Year—Natalie Malcomson
Natalie cares for her partner who has Borderline Personality Disorder, and has trained in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy offering her skills to training for those with, or caring for, people with BPD and other illnesses. Committed to increasing the capacity and resilience of carers and consumers with a mental illness, Natalie also volunteers to help carers of people with BPD by running a monthly support and facilitating the twelve week Family Connections program.

Mental Health Promotion, Prevention and Early Intervention Program of the Year—Menslink Menslink seeks out positive male role models for young men so that they can avoid the potential pitfalls of violence, drugs and alcohol, self-harm and suicide. This program provides a range of free, evidence-based, highly reputable programs that sit squarely in the mental health early intervention, prevention and promotion space.  Operating in the ACT for over 15 years Menslink has been supporting young men by encouraging them to speak up and get help; providing intense short term counselling; and matching young guys with longer term mentoring support.

Commendation Award for Mental Health Promotion, Prevention and Early Intervention—Tony Baker
Mr Baker is the ‘go to guy’ for health and wellbeing in the building and construction industry as well as other blue collar industries. Having worked in the sector for thirty years, Tony’s understanding of the stigma surrounding mental health in these specifically male dominated industries helps break down mental health barriers.

Reciprocity Award—Katrina McLean
Working with Richmond Fellowship ACT for 9 years, Katrina has developed a comprehensive expert skill set that promotes self-determination and optimises recovery for the participants she works alongside.  Katrina has set up two stand out programs, including the Sensory Garden installation at Ray Moreton Park launched in May 2013, and the FreshMess program that recognised the connect between poor diet and poor physical and mental health outcomes.

Mental Health Volunteer of the Year Award—Eunice Jolliffe, Ros Williams and Ann Finlay
These three remarkable women have been through the coronial inquest system after the death of a family loved one, and overcoming their grief, anger and anguish, they found the strength to establish the Coronial Reform Group to fight for a more responsive, timely and equitable coronial system.  They want bereaved families to have their voices properly heard and acted on and support other families through harrowing coronial inquests.

Their major submission to the ACT Law Reform Advisory Council resulted in coronial reform becoming one of the recommended areas for restorative process trials in the ACT. Its effective advocacy influenced the government to implement real time prescription monitoring in the ACT.  CRG adopts collaborative approaches, dedicates countless, unpaid hours and consults with key parties.  Their work is leading to a more timely, supportive and effective coronial system and better lives for people affected by mental illness through service improvements.

David Perrin Award—Rose Beard  The David Perrin Awards is presented in memory of David Perrin, an individual with multiple disabilities who made his mark in mental health services. It is awarded to a mental health consumer who lives an independent and self-determined life, while negotiating complex mental illness.

Rose lives with, and negotiates, complex mental illness, disability and chronic illness related to an ongoing battle with cancer.  In addition, Rose is heavily involved in the caring of her adult son who lives with severe autism and mental illness.  Rose participates in a number of areas of the ACT Mental Health Community. Rose chaired the Consumer and Carer Caucus for two years and is an active mental health consumer representative through the ACT Mental Health Consumer Network.

Michael Firestone Memorial ScholarshipsThis scholarship has been established in recognition of Michael’s tireless efforts in assisting mental health consumers through information, education and referral, as well as his long personal battle with an education provider regarding his own issues of discrimination.

This year, there are two award winners. Both winners receive $500 to cover general education expenses, such as computers, course texts and course fees.

Delia Quigly
The 2018 ACT Senior Volunteer of the Year for her work for Diversity ACT and Lifeline, Delia is a retired AFP officer who served as a peacekeeper in Timor Leste, Cyprus, Sudan, Haiti and on assistance missions in Jordan & the Solomon Islands.  Stemming from her role is the AFP, she is living with PTSD and a number of other medical conditions.  Delia is now undertaking Graduate Diploma in Relationships Counselling.  She has been studying counselling part-time for the last three years, with the goal of providing free or low-cost counselling to low income clients of Diversity A.C.T.

Siân Jackson
Siân is a young woman living with terminal illness and the comorbidity of mental illnesses as a flow on effect of that condition. Siân has recently begun to explore circus performance as another field of artistic endeavour, in using physical performance as one component of her physical and mental health management strategy. Her long term goal is to study at the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) and this scholarship will be used to purchase circus equipment to assist with auditions for NICA.

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Section: Shane Rattenbury, MLA | Media Releases

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