Senior Mental Health Adviser at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Dr Poerio is currently the Senior Mental Health Adviser at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs where she provides clinical advice to support policy, program development and research in relation to mental health, and contributes to the broader focus on mental health in DVA. She has also held the position of Assistant National Manager of the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (now Open Arms). Dr Poerio has a deep connection with the military; she worked as a Psychologist and clinical supervisor for the ADF in Darwin, her husband served the Army for 27 years, and her youngest daughter is currently serving in the Australian Air Force.
She has practised in the field of psychology in both clinical and management/advisory roles for over 25 years. She completed her PhD at Griffith University and her Clinical Masters at the University of Adelaide. Dr Poerio has worked in professional positions at the executive level across a range of organisations including the University of Sydney, Department of Defence, Centrelink, and the Commonwealth Department of Human Services.
She also works in part-time clinical practice, with her areas of interest involving trauma, bereavement, organisational change, resilience, workplace health, depression and anxiety.
Regional Director South Queensland, Open Arms - Veterans and Families
Pip Weiland commissioned in the Australian Army Psychology Corps in 2003, and during her 17 year career performed diverse roles across clinical, operational, research and staff positions. She completed her military service as the Commanding Officer 1st Psychology Unit, and is now the Regional Director South Queensland Open Arms, where she continues to support veteran and family mental health. Pip is passionate about evidence-based treatment, and has a special interest in psychological resilience and mental health issues associated with exposure to combat.
Associate Lecturer in Paramedicine, Western Sydney University
Buck Reed is Lecturer in Paramedicine at the Western Sydney University; Buck is a Registered Paramedic and practices clinically in the state of New South Wales. Buck is a Churchill Fellows and first paramedic graduate of the NSW Health Rural Research Capacity Building Program. Buck is a PhD candidate researching paramedic regulation and identity and holds a Master of International Health Management. Buck has been involved in designing wellbeing programs around paramedicine students and has presented on paramedic student resilience and wellness. Buck is heavily involved in the Australian paramedicine community as an academic, researcher and a member of the Australian College of Paramedicine Future of Paramedicine Working Group.
Director of Policy, Fortem Australia
James Maskey is a passionate engagement and advocacy professional, striving to enhance the mental, personal and social wellbeing of the emergency services community. James is also a retired front-line Queensland Police Officer with a service history including General Duties and the Child Protection & Investigation Unit. In 2013, James was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
James is currently the 'Engagement Manager' of Fortem Australia. Fortem provides evidence-based, comprehensive and integrated mental health and wellbeing support to first responders, and their families. In this position, James is responsible for developing and implementing engagement strategies across multiple stakeholders, including corporate, national security and first responder agencies to build sustainable and mutually beneficial partnerships.
In addition, James remains a tireless advocate of creating mentally healthy workplaces, tackling stigma and improving help-seeking behaviours in the emergency services sector. In doing so, James supports executive and front line leaders in the emergency services sector to drive industry-led and sustained educational, cultural and policy changes that have a tangible impact for those on the ground.
For his ongoing mental health advocacy pursuits, in March 2020, James was recognised as one of 25 Pro Bono Australia Impact 25 Award recipients for 2019. In May 2019, James was also announced as a finalist in the Victorian Young Achiever of the Year Award in the ‘Create Change’ category.
As a world record holder and ultra-endurance athlete, James has represented Australia on the world stage in ultra-marathon running, raising funds for mental health organisations. James utilises his endurance pursuits as a platform to passionately share his own lived experience of mental health difficulties, challenge mental health stigma and encourage the help-seeking behaviours of others who may be impacted by mental health conditions.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Interoperability, Fire Rescue Victoria
Tony is a career firefighter with over 25 years’ experience. He has tertiary qualifications in business and emergency management and was the Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACFO) / Director - Emergency Medical Response / Wellbeing which included managing organisational wellbeing for the Country Fire Authority (CFA) of Victoria. At CFA he implemented a tailored wellbeing program for staff and volunteers and was a strong advocate for mental health, leading to the transition of the Wellbeing department from People and Culture into the non-traditional Operations Directorate, establishing wellbeing as being equally important as responding a fire truck. Tony commenced with Fire Rescue Victoria in 2020 and is the ACFO / Director of the Interoperability Department.
Commanding Officer, 1st Psychology Unit, Australian Defence Force
Lieutenant Colonel Costello was commissioned into the Australian Army in 2002 and has undertaken a diverse range of clinical, organisational, operational, command and staff appointments during her service. Lieutenant Colonel Costello holds a Masters Degree in Organisational Psychology and currently leads the Human Performance Optimisation team at Headquarters Forces Command. She has served as the Officer-in-Charge of the ADF Centre for Mental Health, as the Senior Psychologist in the Commander’s Advisory Group at Forces Command, and prior to her current appointment, as the Commanding Officer of the 1st Psychology Unit.
Senior Psychologist & Co-founder, Mindarma And The Black Dog Institute
Dr Sadhbh (Sive) Joyce) is the Principal Psychologist, meditation teacher and co-founder of Mindarma and has experience across clinical, academic and industrial settings. She is an External Fellow with the Black Dog Institute and UNSW Medicine. Sadhbh has over 17 years’ experience working in Mental Health. She provides evidence-based therapy to those struggling with anxiety, depression, trauma, bereavement and workplace injury. Sadhbh has worked in inpatient and outpatient settings as well as occupational rehabilitation. Following her research with first-responders, Sadhbh co-founded Mindarma in 2016 with the aim of bringing evidence-based programs to the workplace. This award-winning holistic program teaches practical skills and strategies to help bolster adaptive psychological resilience and wellbeing. Mindarma has since been adopted as a core workplace mental health initiative by numerous organisations including Ambulance Victoria, New South Wales Ambulance, NSW Health, Department of Fire and Emergency Services Western Australia, UNICEF, Queensland Fire and Rescue, Queensland SES, Queensland RFS, NSW Health Pathology, Reuters, Department of Communities and Justice NSW, Business Victoria, Mercy Health Services Victoria, MS Australia, UNSW- LAW, University of Wollongong, TAFE Queensland and TAFE NSW. Sadhbh was recently awarded the Australian Psychological Society Significant Contribution Award in recognition of her successful translational research. You can read more about Sadhbh’s work here.
Senior Firefighter and Peer Supporter, Fire & Rescue NSW
Tara is a professional firefighter and peer support officer with Fire and Rescue NSW. She is also a PhD candidate at the University of New England and was awarded the inaugural Australian Rotary Health scholarship for research into the mental health of emergency service workers in 2018. Her research focusses on understanding the impact of suicide on firefighters. She is also the internationally published author of Standing on My Brother’s Shoulders – Making peace with Grief and Suicide. Tara is a Mental Health First Aid instructor and has managed the psychological wellbeing program in Fire and Rescue NSW working with researchers at the Black Dog Institute to implement programs aimed at building resilience and improving mental health outcomes in firefighters. She was a finalist in the Rotary Inspirational Woman of the Year awards in 2017 and was awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal in 2022 for her work supporting the mental health of firefighters. In March 2021 Tara cycled 5000km unsupported from the western most point to the eastern most point of Australia raising over $21k for Lifeline and awareness for two organisations for which is an ambassador - Fortem Australia and StandBy Support After Suicide. Her mission is to use the voice of lived experience in her research to effect meaningful change at individual, organisational and community level.
Training Coordinator, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services
Todd is a police veteran with first responder experience spanning 23 years in the Queensland Police Service. Todd most recently worked as a Senior Project Officer within QPS Wellbeing Strategy Team, delivering operational psychological first aid practices, and developing organisational suicide management.
Recently Todd commenced employment with the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services as the Training Coordinator for Psychological and Support Services. Todd is a Peer Support Officer, volunteering to assist and support his colleagues experiencing personal and work-related difficulties.
Todd has a long history of lived experience with anxiety, depression, suicide ideation and behaviour, and is passionate about mental health, in particular the impact of frontline response on the psychological wellbeing of first responders. He is also currently undertaking university studies in psychology and is an active R U OK Ambassador.
Director, Response Mental Health Peer Support
I am a current serving Custodial Correctional Officer with Queensland Corrective Services for over ten years with a Lived experience in PTSD.
I am also the founder of Response Mental Health Peer Support Inc. Response began as a closed Facebook group which has rapidly grown to around 1200 members.
We then became a not for profit, and soon after we achieved a major goal and millstone of being registered as a charity with the ACNC.
Response is run by Custodial Correctional Officers with a lived experience and is established to be a charity whose purpose is to advance health by preventing and controlling post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) of custodial correctional officers in Queensland, by undertaking the following activities:
Wellness Manager, New Zealand Police
Anna (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha) has been in the role of Wellness Manager at NZ Police since November 2020.
She is part of the Safer People team within NZ Police and leads the focus on psychological and emotional wellbeing for NZ police employees. Anna is a registered social worker with a PhD in Social Work and over 27 years’ experience of working in a variety of mental health and addiction settings including in clinical practice, education, workforce development, systems development and commissioning. Being with NZ Police has opened her eyes to the importance of having a specific focus on initiatives and interventions for first responder communities.