Kim Ryan (Canberra, ACT) – Winner, 2016 Australian Mental Health Prize
Kim is the CEO of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN); a passionate advocate for mental health and for the profession of mental health nursing. Kim believes nurses and midwives have the capacity to improve the mental health of the community and, in particular, that health outcomes for people who experience mental health conditions are substantially improved when a mental health nurse is involved. Kim has worked tireless nationally and internationally through nursing and other mental health organisations to advocate for better mental health care for all. Kim was instrumental in establishing the collaborative Mental Health Professionals Association (MHPA) with the RACGP, the APS, the ACMHN and the RANZCP, and chaired the association to undertake a landmark $15 million project focusing on professional collaboration to improve mental health care.
Annette Baker (Albury, NSW)
Annette established The Winter Solstice in her hometown of Albury, NSW, an event that gives recognition to the many people dealing with suicide and their complicated grief. It encourages conversations about shared lived experiences, providing greater opportunities for healing. Annette lost her daughter Mary to suicide when she was 15.
Betty Kitchener (Melbourne, VIC)
Betty founded the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program, the first of its kind in the world. Designed to give members of the public hands-on training in how to assist someone during a mental health crisis or episode, the MHFA program has a strong evidence base and has now been rolled out to over 20 countries with 1.7 million people trained globally.
Ian Hickie (Sydney, NSW)
Ian is a major force in Australian mental health, the founding CEO of beyondblue, a key advisor to Federal Governments, a current member of the National Mental Health Commission and a strong public voice for improved mental health services. An internationally-renowned researcher in depression, early intervention and youth mental health, he was instrumental in the creation of headspace and the Young & Well CRC delivering unique services and new on-line technologies to young people.
James Prascevic (Geelong, VIC)
James is a former soldier in the Australian Defence Force, having served in East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq from 2002-2011. After being discharged from the Army, James developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression, and began to self- medicate with alcohol. He has since written a book, ‘The Returned Soldier’, based on the diaries he kept, detailing his symptoms, treatment, and ongoing battle with mental illness. He is a staunch advocate for mental health, and has crossed the Bass Strait in a ‘tinnie’ to raise funds for the Black Dog Institute. James will soon be a qualified yachtsman skipper and is currently planning to teach ex-soldiers suffering from a mental illness to sail in a controlled environment on his boat. He hopes to give them a chance to feel what he feels on the water– 110% mentally and physically well.
Joe Williams (Dubbo, NSW)
Joe Williams is a Wiradjuri man, former NRL player and professional boxer who runs his own suicide prevention organisation and charity ‘The Enemy Within’ (TEW). Joe travels around Australia speaking at schools, sporting clubs, workplaces, organisations and remote communities, where he delivers workshops about suicide prevention and how to maintain positive mental health and wellness. He is an advocate and leader in suicide education, prevention and support for all people, but has particular care for First Nations Australians, who are six times more likely than the non-Indigenous population to suicide. Joe fought his own battles with mental illness and drug and alcohol addiction, and survived a suicide attempt in 2012. From that time, he turned his life around and became committed to helping his all people understand and work towards optimal mental health and wellness.
John Mendoza (Caloundra, QLD)
John is a mental health and suicide prevention advocate, policy analyst and researcher committed to sector reform and reducing the rate of suicide in Australia. He has worked in alcohol and drug and mental health for nearly 35 years. John lost a nephew to suicide in 2014 and uses his knowledge as a former senior public servant and his personal experiences to educate the community about the issues associated with mental illness and suicide. John is a former CEO of the Australian Sports Drug Agency, former CEO of Mental Health Council of Australia and former chair of the National Advisory Council on Mental Health to the Federal Government.