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Queensland Mental Health Week Achievement Awards 2017


Open Minds is incredibly proud to again organise and host the 2017 Queensland Mental Health Week Achievement Awards.

Now in its fifth year, the 2017 Achievement Awards is a major event on the Queensland Mental Health Week annual calendar. The Achievement Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of individuals, groups and organisations working tirelessly to reduce stigma and support and empower those living with mental illness.       

Our winners will be recognised at the Queensland Mental Health Week Achievement Awards Breakfast and Presentation Ceremony held in the Ithaca Auditorium at Brisbane City Hall on Friday, 13 October 2017.

The Achievement Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of individuals, groups, organisations and businesses who are devoted to improving the understanding and awareness of mental health and wellbeing right across Queensland.

• Individual Award
• Media Award
• Youth Award (under 25)
• Jude Bugeja - Peer Experience Award
• Not-For-Profit Award - SME (1-100 staff)
• Not-For-Profit Award - Medium to large (101+ staff) 
• Workplace Award - SME (1-200 staff)
• Workplace Award - Large businesses (201+ staff)

 2017 Achievement Award Finalists

Individual Award

Honouring Jeff Cheverton
On the 2nd of March this year, the world lost a unique character – to quote a former Queensland Alliance President “he was a committed and energetic warrior for justice”. Jeff Cheverton was a driving force in Australian healthcare, his passion and dedication to the mental health, LGBTIQ and primary health sectors in Queensland, and subsequently Victoria, will certainly continue to resonate for generations to come both nationally and internationally.

Jeff’s commitment to social justice and human rights was second to none. He was instrumental in working with the Queensland Government to deliver the first Mental Health Summit in Australia and a driving force behind the formation of Community Mental Health Australia. Jeff’s courage, determination and passion for social justice and inclusiveness was as well-known as his infectious laughter and sense of humour. These qualities enabled him to break away barriers and forge ahead with real social change, and in 2008, Jeff was awarded a Churchill Fellowship on social inclusion and anti-discrimination campaigns in mental health from around the world. Jeff’s leadership created change, influenced policy and shaped the Queensland Alliance for what it is today.

It is a great privilege that Queensland Alliance for Mental Health has been given the opportunity to sponsor this Individual Award to honour and pay tribute to Jeff for the work he achieved and the legacy he left behind.

The finalists in the Individual Award category are:

Adam Lo for his work in advancing mental health care for young people, including promoting access to services, fostering understanding and awareness in the community, as well as reducing the stigma of mental illness and addiction issues. In the last two years, Adam conceptualised and implemented a large scale mental health promotion initiative using the creative arts – “Positive Mindset Creative Arts Festival”.

Jacqui Littmann for her work as facilitator of the Nuts and Bolts Peer Support Group in Kilcoy. Jacqui is a mental health advocate in her local community and established the local branch of the group to provide support to the Kilcoy and surrounding areas community, and uses her lived experience to provide support and understanding for support group members.

Marj Bloor for her contribution to the mental health sector as CEO of Arafmi Qld. Marj led the organisation for close to two decades, during which time she was instrumental in transforming the organisation and the lives of many people, staff, families, carers and people with lived experience of mental health. 
Media Award
“The Bridge”, Australian Story, ABC an episode presented a powerful personal story of overcoming suicide, focused on Donna Thistlethwaite who survived an attempt at suicide. “The Bridge” broached new territory on the subject of suicide survival and struck a universal tone by painting a powerful picture of the progressive narrowing of thinking that can lead to a suicide attempt. The story illustrated steps to wellness through Donna Thistlethwaite’s strategies to staying safe, from exercise and keeping social to her role helping others as a volunteer Lifeline counsellor.

“Mind at Work”, Insight, SBS, explored the issues that come with navigating the workplace with a mental illness both from the employee and employer perspective. The prevalence of Australians living with a mental illness means that this is an issue that both employees and employers are increasingly dealing with. In this episode, Insight heard from employees and employers about how mental illness is being managed in the workplace, and explored how can it be better managed.

“When the Baby Blues Turn Black”, QWeekend, The Courier-Mail is an in-depth feature article combining personal experiences with post-natal depression, the expertise of medical professionals and mental health advocates, resulting in an engaging in-depth feature contributing to the breakdown of stigma surrounding mental illness. 

Youth Award (Under 25 years)
Madeleine Ivett is passionate about improving the lives of others through her work in the disability sector, and is committed to reaching the best outcomes for clients in a collaborative, client centred approach. Madeleine also provides support to colleagues in their own skills development, and through her career she will make a valuable contribution to the lives of others for a long time to come.

Madison Birtchnell is passionate and focused about making a positive difference by working to improve the lives of people within her community regard to mental health, social justice and humanitarian issues. Madison’s passion for mental health awareness involves education and creating positive social change. She works tirelessly to reduce the stigmas associated with mental illness, whilst providing support and empowering those living with mental illness within the community.

Nicole Gibson is a fierce ambassador for mental health, innovation and connection after recovering from her own terrifying lived experience with anorexia nervosa through her teenage years. Nicole works to normalise the conversation surrounding mental health, to break down the walls around stigma and shame associated with reaching out for health. In Nicole’s young career so far, she has facilitated workshops and presentations with over 250 000 Australians. 

Jude Bugeja – Peer Experience Award
Grow provides mutual self help and peer support programs throughout Australia, and pioneered peer support in mental health recovery in Australia. From its inception, members have participated in shared problem solving with each other and using personal testimonies of recovery to inspire hope. As members recovered and developed their understanding of the Grow Program, they became eligible to lead their local Grow Group. Today, there are around 300 Grow leaders in volunteer positions within Grow Groups, leading and supporting other members.

Leilani Darwin has devoted her professional life to assisting other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People to have access to the mental health supports that she credits with assisting her to build her resilience and live a meaningful and productive life. Her passion and commitment to best practice, culturally safe and effective mental health services inspire the people around her.

Martina McGrath is a mental health and suicide prevention advisor. Her personal journey demonstrates hope and resilience to overcome multiple challenges - in May 2013 Martina sustained 70% burns to her entire body, as a result of self- immolation. Martina has enhanced the quality of life and wellbeing of people who live with mental illness, promoting social justice and raises mental health awareness in the community and demonstrating qualities of leadership, vision and innovation through her work in Suicide Prevention, Mental Health, and the LGBTI Community. 

Not for Profit Award SME (1 to 100 staff)
Access Arts is a leader in supporting vulnerable Queenslanders through art: people experiencing mental health problems, mental illness, learning difficulty, physical disability (often translating into depression and other mental health issues as a result of societal barriers); deaf people (prone to above average depression due to extreme isolation), fragile First Australians, and more recently frail elderly seniors, many with dementia.

Open Doors Youth Service provides programs to support LGBTIQ+ young people in South East Queensland. ODYS' JellyBeans Program and Reconnect Program supports young LGBTIQ+ young people in South East Queensland with mental health, homelessness, and alcohol and other drug issues. As Queensland's only organisation specialising and offering programs for the unique needs of this community, we play a vital role on offering this cohort safe social spaces, accessing government services, providing mental health services, and connecting our young people with other medical professionals and social services. 

The Eating Issues Centre is a community based non-profit charity promoting positive body image and prevention of eating issues as well as offering supportive therapeutic options for people affected by eating issues. The Eating Issues Centre provides information and referral, free counselling, therapeutic groups, and peer support for people with eating issues throughout Queensland. We value the sharing of recovery wisdom and aim to involve people with a lived experience of body image and eating issues throughout the organisation. 

Not for Profit Award (Medium to Large 100+ staff)
Centacare Anam Cara Transitional Housing Program commenced in 2007. The words Anam Cara mean ‘someone to walk with’ and to date the THP has supported 120 individuals, adults, over 18, with a diagnosed mental illness, in their recovery journey. Participants in the program must be willing to engage with the program, have identified barriers to living independently, and either currently live in unsuitable accommodation or are at risk of homelessness.

Cooinda Mental Health Service combines best-practice treatment programs and community outreach, continually striving to expand and develop new programs and community initiatives in-line with the needs of the community it serves. Its mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and their families.

Holy Cross Laundry is a Disability Enterprise, providing integrated and inclusive employment opportunities for all, with a focus on people with disability and the disadvantaged in the community. Holy Cross Laundry takes pride in assisting people with employment and work experience, who want to work to support themselves and personally develop to build confidence and life skills to lead a meaningful and independent life. 

Workplace Award SME (1 to 200 staff)
Bremer State High School aims to support the mental health and wellbeing of students and staff by providing initiatives to enhance wellbeing throughout the year. The school’s Mental Health Action Team collaborates with external professionals to develop practices and programs to improve student’s mental health and change the way in which mental health is viewed.

Child Aware Pty Ltd aims to ensure children, young people and families have access to high quality and affordable counselling and psychology services and provides evidence based psychology services that promote hope, independence, and resilience. Their mission is to ensure that the best interests of children and young people are prioritised.

Victoria Point State High School aims to promote and create a positive, inclusive and productive environment within the school by providing support and assistance to students that present with social, emotional, behavioural and/or mental issues/concerns through their Wellbeing Team. The team also provides a multitude of services and opportunities to the staff (teaching and non-teaching) at Victoria Point State High School in hopes of enhancing school life and positive mental health within the workplace for all (approx. 140 teaching and non-teaching staff). 

Workplace Award Large (201+ staff)
King & Wood Mallesons for focus on supporting a psychologically healthy workplace through workplace programs and a strategic focus on creating a great place to work and grow. Psychological wellbeing is core to their diversity and inclusion agenda, and they recognise their responsibility to lead, influence and contribute to supporting and destigmatising mental illness in the legal profession.

Queensland Ambulance Service for their ‘Priority One’ Program to promote the physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing of more than 4,500 ambulance personnel and their families. The Priority One program seeks to encourage and enhance the individual’s personal resources and to introduce appropriate resilience mechanisms to deal with every day demands and challenges confronted in their daily lives which supports their mental health and wellbeing. Priority One aims to inform and empower staff to understand and access the necessary resources that will sustain them in the important work they undertake in delivering services to the Queensland community.

Sunshine Coast Council for their FRESHminds program - an initiative under council’s FRESH health and wellbeing program which aims to provide a mentally healthy workplace that promotes awareness and understanding of mental illness, encourages early help seeking behaviours and reduces stigma. FRESHminds is based on the six key individual, team and organisational evidence-based or evidence-informed strategies recommended by the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance, which recognise that mental health of a workforce can be enhanced by minimising the impact of known workplace risk factors and maximising the impact of potential protective factors. 

2017 Queensland Mental Health Week Achievement Award Sponsors

The Queensland Mental Health Commission (Major Sponsor)
Sponsoring the 'Jude Bugeja' Award Category

The Queensland Mental Health Commission is committed to improving the mental health and wellbeing of all Queenslanders and minimising the harmful impacts of alcohol and other drugs in our communities.
To do this the Commission brings together experience and professional expertise by partnering with the community, government, and industry across a range of areas including health, employment, education, housing and justice.
Through these partnerships, the Commission finds solutions and guides action to improve the systems that support people with, or at higher risk of, mental illness or problematic alcohol and other drug use, people impacted by suicide, as well as their families, carers, support persons, and the Queensland community.

The Department of Health
Sponsoring the 'Not-for-profit' (SME) Award Category

Queensland Health is the state’s largest healthcare provider, delivering a healthcare system that ranks amongst the best in the world. Through a network of 16 Hospital and Health Services, as well as the Mater Hospitals,
Queensland Health delivers a range of integrated services. These services include hospital inpatient, outpatient and emergency services, community and mental health services, aged care services, and public health and health promotion programs. Queensland Health is committed to ensuring all Queenslanders have access to a range of public hospitals and healthcare services aimed at achieving good health and wellbeing. Collectively Queensland Health will aspire to achieve our common vision that ‘By 2026 Queenslanders will be among the healthiest people in the world’. For more information, visit the Queensland Health website at

Royal Australian and New Zealand College 
Sponsoring the ‘Media’ Award Category

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) is responsible for training, educating and representing psychiatrists in Australia and New Zealand. The RANZCP is committed to enhancing the mental health of Australians and New Zealanders through the leadership of high quality psychiatric care. The Queensland Branch of the RANZCP advocates on behalf of its members and works collaboratively with government and non-government stakeholders for improved provision of mental health services and quality of patient care for Queenslanders with a mental illness.

Queensland Alliance for Mental Health
Sponsoring the 'Individual' Award Category

Queensland Alliance for Mental Health (QAMH) is the peak body representing the mental health sector in Queensland.
We work to promote the values and professionalism of our members by focusing on outcomes, building innovative partnerships, carving a role for community mental health in the healthcare continuum and promoting the meaningful integration of community mental health services into the broader health system. Representing and supporting services and groups that meet the needs of people who have lived experience with mental health issues, their friends, family and carers, QAMH leads the community mental health sector by supporting members, prioritising needs and building capacity.

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