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November 2021

Media Release: Winners revealed at WA Mental Health Awards Ceremony

A spotlight was shone on the mental health sector when winners of the Western Australian Mental Health Awards were announced on 25 November at the awards ceremony.

Held at Beaumonde on The Point, East Perth, the awards were hosted by the Western Australian Association for Mental Health (WAAMH) with support from the WA Mental Health Commission and recognised exceptional commitments to mental health in the 2020 calendar year through excellence, innovation and initiative. 

The awards ceremony was well-attended by nearly 300 people, including the Minister for Mental Health, the Honourable Stephen Dawson MLC, personnel from the mental health sector and representatives from other WA industries and the broader community.

WAAMH chief executive officer Taryn Harvey said the awards celebrated exceptional contributions to mental health across the mental health sector and broader community.

“The awards marked a wonderful occasion to showcase the dedicated work done by individuals and organisations in mental health,” Ms Harvey said.

“Every year we are impressed with the quality of nominations and winners, and this year was no exception.

“I’d like to congratulate all the winners, and the also finalists and nominees for their contribution to the sector. The innovation and dedication of those who work in the mental health sector is really inspiring.”

With winners from mining, media, education and mental health sectors, Ms Harvey said it was great to see mental health being on the agenda in the broader community and across various industries.

“Seeing mental health reflected in different communities and industries with the winners shows us people and organisations are making an effort to have positive mental health where they live, learn, work and play,” she said.

More than 160 nominations were received across the nine categories and were judged by a panel that included mental health sector employees, mental health lived experience consumers and carers, and WA MHC and WAAMH representatives.

WA Mental Health Awards winners:

Minister’s Award – Professor Juli Coffin

Prof Coffin is the Ellison Professor of Aboriginal research at the Telethon Kids Institute in the Kimberley and is deeply committed to cultural security, community and connection. She has spent more than three decades combining her diverse talents to tackle some of Australia’s most complex, entrenched challenges, in particular Aboriginal suicide, violence and mental health. 

Western Australian Mental Health Commission Lived Experience Impact and Inspiration Award – Julian Pace

After multiple setbacks and grief in both childhood and adulthood, Julian Pace's mental health plummeted, before he decided to change his life around. Julian saw happiness as a journey, not a destination and wanted to prevent families from going through the pain that his did. Mr Pace began working on mental health awareness with various organisations but found that awareness alone would not genuinely change behaviour Australia-wide. This led to him creating the Happiness Co, which is underpinned by his passion and deep desire to create true widespread change around the world. Happiness Co has had great success in using tangible tools to build lives and wellbeing in the community, while also raising awareness of mental health challenges in WA.

Youth Focus Innovation for Change Award – Yawardani Jan-ga

The Yawardani Jan-ga program is at the forefront of social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal young people and uses the culturally secure practice of Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) to engage with Aboriginal people aged six to 25 years old. The program has been regarded as a new way forward for not only at-risk Aboriginal youth, but all Aboriginal people including emerging leaders.

Chamber of Minerals and Energy Mentally Healthy Workplace Award – Clough

Established in 1919, Clough is a pioneering engineering and construction company based in Perth and manages a global workforce of more than 200 staff. Clough’s history of innovating spurred it on to being a leader in creating a mentally healthy workplace, including being the first in WA to sign a blueprint with MATES in Construction WA, which is a charity aiming to reduce the high level of suicide among Australian construction workers though community development programs on sites. A safe and healthy workplace is engrained in Clough’s policies and procedures, and it has actively sought to create a more positive work-life balance for employees.

Lotterywest Diversity Award – Connection and Wellbeing Australia (CAWA)

CAWA has led the way in LGBTIQA+ suicide prevention and mental health. Using a social enterprise framework, it has brought together LGBTIQA+ groups and services, and the mental health and suicide prevention sectors, to work together to ensure that both peer and mainstream supports and services are operating in a safe, inclusive way.

Commissioner for Children and Young People Mentally Healthy Education Award – Mount Barker Community College (MBCC)

Established in 2008, MBCC was borne from the community belief that the educational needs of its students would be better served by having one kindergarten to year 12 college. The rural campus services the needs of the diverse local community and captures students within a 55-kilometre radius. The college also acknowledges cultural diversity with its increasing Afghanistan student enrolments and proud local Noongar history.

Lifeline Prevention or Promotion Award – Youth Focus

Youth Focus is a leading mental health provider which has been supporting the wellbeing of young people in the WA community for 27 years. It is a leading provider of in-school mental health education in the WA community, providing evidence-based mental health programs to Year 6, 9 and 11 students, as well as parents, carers and staff in schools and communities.

Mental Health News Media Award - Shireen Narayanan and Celia Tait

Filmmaker Shireen Narayanan, of Inavision Films, and Artemis Media managing director, Celia Tait, are the great minds behind the documentary film, Wild Butterfly. Wild Butterfly opens the viewer’s eyes to the impacts of universal social injustices and prejudices, which could befall to anyone and anyone’s daughter.

Act Belong Commit Mental Health Employee Excellence or Volunteer Award – Irene Patroni

Irene Patroni has been a Grow member since 1980. Her 41-year career started as a peer support volunteer and progressed into leadership roles before working for GrowWA as a program secretary until she retired in 2006. Over the past 15 years, Ms Patroni has volunteered as the organiser for three different groups and still holds the position of organiser of one group.

About WAAMH:

The Western Australian Association for Mental Health (WAAMH) is the peak body for community mental health in WA and our membership comprises community-managed organisations providing mental health services, programs or supports, and people and families with lived experience of mental health issues and suicide, with whom we engage in genuine partnership.

WAAMH also engages with a wide network of collaborative relationships at a State and national level with individuals and organisations and community members who share our values and objectives.

Media contacts:

Taryn Harvey
Chief executive officer
WA Association for Mental Health
08 6246 3000

Mollie Tracey
Communications and events officer
WA Association for Mental Health
02 6246 3000 or 0457 038 573

WA Association for Mental Health
1 Nash Street, Perth WA, 6000
(08) 6246 3000
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