Ambassadors

Mental health ambassadors are individuals who share their journey in all sorts of ways. They shatter stereotypes, myths, and stigma, helping the public to see the realities of mental illness while being a leader in providing real hope and support.

Embodying the association’s values of integrity, respect, support, growth and health, our ambassadors are passionate advocates for mental health. Our ambassadors are chosen based on their commitment to continued mental health education, awareness and advocacy.

Whether it’s research, experience, lived experience or a passion for breaking the stigma, check out our current ambassadors and find out what they’re doing to advance mental health.

Our Association Ambassadors

Libby Trickett

Former Olympian, Author, Radio Host & Mental Health Ambassador

A former Australian swimmer, Libby collected 24 gold medals on the international stage across Olympic, Commonwealth Games and World Championships events. This included eight long course and seven short course world titles, five Commonwealth Games and four Olympic gold medals which were won at three consecutive Olympic Games.

After her retirement and following the birth of her first-born child, Libby suffered from post-natal depression, which was further exacerbated by the loss of a rigid training support structure.

Since retiring Libby has dabbled in TV, a sales and marketing role for a technology company, and worked as a radio announcer for Triple M in Brisbane. She is also committed to pursuing her work in mental health, publishing her memoir Beneath the Surface, as well as taking care of her three young daughters, Poppy, Edwina and Bronte.

CONTACT LIBBY: libbytrickett.com

Dacre Danes

Writer, Fashion Photographer & Mental Health Ambassador

Dacre grew up in the beautiful surfing community of Cronulla in Sydney. His adult years have seen him live all around Australia and throughout Europe, where he has had a successful fashion photography career. Dacre helped with the creation of Brisbane Fashion Month in its early days, and has been writing since he was a young man.

An avid surfer, Dacre learned to surf before he could even spell. He went through years of intense and systematic bullying that slowly led to taboo medical issues.

In his debut novel, DANYON, Dacre blurs the lines between what happens in the mind of someone who has been bullied for a long period of time. He was able to survive suicide and make it through to tell this tale. DANYON touches on his own experiences, along with others carefully wound together to form a fictional tale based on true events. This read is not only confronting, but provides hope for anyone suffering the same issues.

Dacre’s mission is to reach as many people as he can with his stories – as no matter where you grew up – bullying doesn’t discriminate and so much is at stake when you use your words to another as you never know if that person is about to take their own life.

CONTACT DACRE: dacredanes.com

Mitch Wallis

Entrepreneur and Founder – Heart On My Sleeve

Mitch has struggled with some of the most severe & debilitating mental illness symptoms for most of this life. Until recently, this had largely meant suffering in silence and isolation.

Founding an international not-for-profit mental health campaign to eradicate stigma called the ‘Heart On My Sleeve Movement’, Mitch’s ultimate dream is to change the face of mental health by empowering his fellow millennials to overcome suffering and help them re-imagine the healing power of the mind.

He is uniquely positioned to bring a firsthand experience of suffering from several chronic mental health conditions, with an educated academic understanding of the science behind problem and treatment, mixed with a comprehensive business, storytelling and tech background that allows him to build a platform to connect with people in an authentic and powerful way.

Mitch’s ultimate dream is to change the face of mental health by empowering his fellow millennials to overcome suffering and help them re-imagine the healing power of the mind.

CONTACT MITCH: mitchwallis.com

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Suzanne Dang

Mental Health Peer Support Worker & Blogger

Born and raised in Brisbane, Suzanne Dang wants to end the stigma of mental illnesses through sharing her lived experiences of Bipolar Disorder Type I and doing work as an Ambassador for ANZMH. Suzanne dresses with style and expresses her love for fashion through her blogging. Suzanne even has an ‘elevator pitch' about her story and her advocacy ready for when she meets people at fashion events.  She loves attending these solo, so she's forced out of her comfort zone to mix and mingle with new people.

Suzanne finds sharing her story in a positive, empowering and vulnerable way through social media very rewarding, and these interactions are very natural to her.

She works full-time as a Mental Health Peer Support Worker, and teaches art to adults with severe and complex mental health issues. She enjoys getting creative, in particular as an Artist - and has had her artwork exhibited in various exhibitions in the past.

INTERVIEW: On ANZMHA
CONTACT SUZANNE: suzanne-dang.com

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Gary Fahey

Author, Coach and Founder of Strong Men'd

By 30 he ran the protection team for the Australian Prime Minister and by 38, the office of the Australian Federal Police Commissioner.

Silently struggling, by 40 his 10 year path to self-destruction was complete.

Gary Fahey spent 18.5 years with the AFP, holds a Masters Degree and qualifications in Health Science, expertise in Strategic Intervention and Neuro-Linguistic Programming, but fighting back from losing almost $2million, his career and his reputation would teach him more than formal education ever could.

Gary calls on his unique experience and expertise to coach individuals and teams in high pressure fields manage mental barriers for high performance

INTERVIEW:  On ANZMHA
CONTACT GARY: strongmend.com

Renee Knapp

CEO, Think Effective Consultancy

Renee is an independent consultant working to implement effective approaches to mental health across communities and schools.  She has over 20 years experience in Education and is the Chair and co-founder of a Community Based Mental Health Action Team.  She's passionate about utilising a community approach to mental health by working collaboratively across government and private sectors to make real change happen for both our youth and the wider community.  She has worked with the WA Mental Health Commission to write a Community Wellbeing Plan that is being shared with communities in the area as a model of success.

INTERVIEW: On ANZMHA
CONTACT RENEE: ThinkEffective.com.au

James Hill

Mental Health Advocate for Energy Queensland

James Hill is a passionate Mental Health Advocate and 2019 Open Minds Individual Contribution to Mental Health Award winner. After his own lived experiences with mental illness, James has influenced change at Energy Queensland. Backed by the CEO he’s developed the role of Mental Health Advocate, creating a blueprint for the future of workplace mental health. The work done in this role won the Queensland Large Workplace Mental Health award. Additionally, James is a Mental Health First Aid instructor, speaker for Beyondblue, contributes to several national mental health projects, and he’s in the final year of a Bachelor of Counselling.

INTERVIEW: On ANZMHA
CONTACT JAMES: Email or Website

 

 

 

Shanna White

Psychologist, Family Therapist and Clinical Trainer

With a specific interest in neurological impacts of trauma and intervention development, Shanna is the founder of Cognitive Behavioural Education (CBE).

A bespoke provider of professional development programs and clinical supervision for all industries in trauma informed practices. She has worked in child protection, residential care, corrections, rehabilitation, community services and private practice. Shanna’s passion is bringing trauma informed practices to anyone providing direct care.

Shanna also hosts a successful podcast, The Trauma Tales, where she interviews trauma survivors and shares their stories with compassion, knowledge and even some laughs.

INTERVIEW: On ANZMHA
CONTACT SHANNA: CBE.NET.AU

Jessica Sturgess

Community Engagement Officer, headspace Griffith

Jessica is the Community Engagement Officer for headspace Griffith and works in the youth mental health sector. Jessica is the proud mother of a beautiful two-year old boy and drawing on her own lived experience she advocates for and educates around perinatal depression and anxiety. While studying to be a psychologist, Jessica also sits on local committees ranging from social services to suicide prevention, which gives her a lot of insight into the various factors that are involved with mental health and management.

INTERVIEW: On ANZMHA
CONTACT JESSICA: LinkedIn Profile

Tammy Hewitt

Mumma Coach and Mentor

Tammy spent 12 years in management within large corporations, including the last 7 years in a senior leadership role driving strategy and cultural change in the food industry. She has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Food and Nutrition) and is a certified life coach. She has a passion for empowering mums to break free from the clutches of fear, stress and anxiety to feel ALIVE again. She has also pioneered a tailor-made program for mums returning to work called Mumma2Work. It aims to give both mums and the employer confidence, certainty, and calmness from pre-parental leave through to their transition back to the workplace after parental leave. She is also an extremly passionate mental health advocate and believes in the power of sharing our vulnerable stories in the hope to normalise mental ill-health and remove the stigmas that still exist, particularly those in the workplace.

INTERVIEW: On ANZMHA
CONTACT TAMMY: Website

David Titeu

Founder of Linkmate

Having experienced mental health challenges both as a consumer and carer for his father, David has been inspired to harness the power of his lived experience to launch a social enterprise focused on preventative support. He holds a Bachelor of Biomedicine and is currently studying an MBA to complement his startup journey. David is also a youth health ambassador and member of the Youth Health Forum, where he takes part in consultations and helps push for better youth outcomes at a federal level. David strongly believes in giving power back to the people when it comes to healthcare, and this notion of empowerment is what underpins Linkmate, his digital platform.

INTERVIEW: On ANZMHA
CONTACT DAVID: LinkedIn Profile

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Kevin Hughes BM

Ambassador, Motivational Speaker, Community Presenter, Advocate and Adventurer

For a number of decades, I have been a volunteer Veterans Advocate, a QLD JP (Qual) for over 25 years, a Qld State Emergency Service member and a former member of the QLD Fire Service. During this time I assisted in raising funds for the Children’s Burns Unit in Brisbane and also assisted in launching the first Fireman’s Calendar which raises funds for various needy organisations.

In 2017, I had the honour of being awarded a Bravery Medal (BA) at Government House Canberra by the then serving Governor General, Sir Peter Cosgrove AK, CVO, MC.

It was with honour, to be selected to run the Queens Batton during the 2018 Brisbane Commonwealth Games, a very memorable experience.

Seeing the need for assistance with our diminishing native wildlife, I founded “Endangered Species Supporters Australia” and with my wife, we are now travelling throughout Australia, making as many people as possible aware of the current critical numbers of our wildlife and ways they could assist in supporting our endangered fauna and flora.

CONTACT DAVID: LinkedIn Profile

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Libby Cook-Black

Project Manager, Outreach & Relationships

Libby is a Torres Strait Islander woman, from the Samsep clan on the eastern island of the Torres Straits, Erub Island (Darnley Island). Libby has previously worked as the Senior Cultural Advisor for Queensland Corrective services advocating for culturally safe practice, and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, perpetrators, victims, families and community that come into contact with the criminal justice system. Recently moving into the Aurukun Justice Reintegration Program role that aims to reduce the crime within the community of Aurukun specifically.

Libby holds a degree in Justice, and is currently completing a post graduate certificate in business, public sector management. Libby is an Australian Indigenous Education Foundation Alumni, Former Australia Rugby League Jillaroo, Queensland Reds Rugby Seven, and recent participate of the Indigenous Marathon Foundation.

CONTACT LIBBY: LinkedIn Profile

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Sophie Bretag

The Kindness Mentor | Workplace Kindness Expert | National Mental Health Ambassador | Happiness, Mindfulness & Breathwork Coach | Barefoot Walker, Squeezy Hugger, Sunshine & Rainbow Chaser

Sophie lives and breathes authentic, creative and courageous leadership – both personally and professionally. She is a Workplace Kindness Expert, Kindness Consultant, Women’s Connection Circle Facilitator, Certified Mindful Mentor, Happiness Coach and Meditation Teacher, featured on Insight Timer App which is the #1 Free App for sleep, stress and anxiety in the World. With over 10 years Executive Human Resource Leadership experience she also works as a Senior HR Consultant and is a passionate advocate for mental health. Through kindness, she believes that we can create more mentally healthy and psychologically safe workplaces. She supports and guides individuals and businesses to create space for themselves and their teams by shining a light on, and embracing, whole-humanness in work and in life.

Personally, Sophie is a mama of 2 wildling boys, wife to an amazing man, a barefoot walker, squeezy hugger, sunshine and rainbow chaser. She laughs loudly and often, lives with high functioning anxiety, cares deeply for other humans, and believes connecting with others can be magic! She lives by the two mottos ‘Life is better when you live your life authentically, laugh, smile and lead from your heart’ and 'Thrive by balancing the passionate work and the mindful living'

CONTACT DAVID: LinkedIn Profile

Jahin Tanvir

Founder @ Breathe. | 3-time TEDx Speaker | UNICEF Young Ambassador | Young Australian of the Year

Jahin Tanvir is an award-winning keynote and TEDx speaker, board director, and multicultural youth advocate. At 21-years-old, Jahin is the Founder of Breathe., a social enterprise providing public speaking education to young people, and marginalised communities around Australia, and New Zealand. Breathe. has impacted over 15,200 young people since its inception in 2022.

Jahin was recently named the 2022 Young Australian of the Year finalist whilst also receiving the 2021 Young Canberra Citizen of the Year in Individual Community Service. Jahin is a Board Director of the Adolescent Health Association of Australia and the Youth Coalition of the ACT. Jahin is an advisor for the Australian Department of Health in which he informs healthcare communications as well as being a consultant for leading anti-racism and health research organisations. Jahin was also recently named as a Young Ambassador at UNICEF for 2022.

CONTACT DAVID: LinkedIn Profile

Zoey Ka

Prosci® Change Practitioner l Change Agent l Multicultural Mental Health Advocate

Zoey is an Asian Australian working as the Lived Experience Project Lead at Mental Illness Fellowship Australia. She’s a qualified Change Practitioner and has completed her studies in Business Administration and Global Project Management. She has experience in career coaching, education, project management and change management.

Zoey is an authentic and vulnerable individual who is passionate and committed to supporting the voices of lived experience. She strives to create safe enough spaces for everyone to talk about mental health in everyday life, ignite hope and inspire people who struggle with intersectional identity in Australia to live a mentally healthier life.

CONTACT DAVID: LinkedIn Profile

Tyler Murphy

Disability Advocate | Business Creator | CEO

In 2019 Tyler founded Support Mates, a service that promotes independence and inclusion for young adults living with limited intellectual abilities.

Mental health and social inclusion are Tyler's biggest passions. Tyler has volunteered and dedicated his time to the disability space for 15+ years. Having identified a need for more support for young adults with disabilities Tyler left his full-time job in 2019 to start his own venture.

Like many others, Tyler has faced mental health battles. In his late twenties Tyler was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder II and has lost two close relatives to suicide. Tyler is proud to advocate for those who don’t have a voice or the ability to understand their own mental health, especially when times are tough.

He is a big believer that we all have a role and responsibility to support mental health inclusion for all abilities and proud to have built a network across the Gold Coast and Brisbane to 'helping our mates of all abilities'

CONTACT DAVID: LinkedIn Profile

Lauren Cox

Lauren Cox

University academic, PhD candidate, Corporate Wellbeing Consultant and Physiotherapist

Lauren is someone that wears many hats including university academic, PhD candidate, corporate wellbeing consultant and physiotherapist. Across these roles, she continues to hone the art of juggling - inclusive of her own mental health and wellbeing. With this at the forefront, she has worked to bring the mental health conversation to the table. Using her unique skill set in education, she uses this to provide people with the non-technical skills to grow in this space.  

Let’s see mental health the same as growing muscles. We need to put in the reps and sets to grow biceps - the mind is the same! Normalising this conversation is where change starts. 

CONTACT LAUREN: LinkedIn Profile

Emily Unity

Emily Unity

Mental Health Advocate of the Year | Software Engineer

Emily Unity is a multi-award-winning mental health professional and software engineer. They are passionate about designing creative solutions to systemic inequalities.  

Emily advocates within various organisations, focusing on amplifying marginalised voices. Currently, they work with the Royal Children’s Hospital, Beyond Blue, Headspace, Orygen, UNICEF, VMIAC, and many more. 

Emily grounds their work in their lived and living experiences with mental health, disability, LGBTQIA+, homelessness, neurodiversity, and being a young carer from a refugee and migrant background. 

Emily endeavours to use both their professional and lived experience to help design a world for all people, regardless of background, identity, or intersectionality. 

CONTACT EMILY: Website

Anushka

Anushka Phal

Founder & Principal Psychologist at Umeed Psychology

Anushka is a passionate psychologist driving advocacy and change for minority communities across Australia. Anushka is the founder of Umeed Psychology, a psychology private practice and social enterprise which aims to provide accessible, culturally informed mental health care. Where clients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds feel safe, included, heard and represented. As a third culture kid herself (New Zealand born Fiji Indian), Anushka understands the challenges of growing up between cultures. As well as the impact of managing the demands between your culture of origin (i.e. Indian) and host culture (i.e. Australian). Umeed Psychology approaches mental health from a holistic lens and aims to provide prevention, intervention and postvention services. This includes but is not limited to culturally sensitive professional development resources and workshops for mental health practitioners, individual and group counselling, consulting services for other organisations and events, support groups and research.

CONTACT ANUSHKA: LinkedIn Profile

Become a Voice for Change

Apply to become an ambassador for the Australian & New Zealand Mental Health Association. Contact us at social@anzmh.asn.au today.