Allen Sparks, CV VA to present a Keynote at the 16th International Mental Health Conference

beyondblue Ambassador and Suicide Prevention Advocate, Allen Sparks, CV VA to present a Keynote at the 16th International Mental Health Conference (IMHC) being held at QT Hotel, Surfers Paradise Thursday 13 August to Friday 14 August 2015.

The Conference will bring together leading clinical practitioners, academics, service providers and mental health experts to deliberate and discuss Mental Health issues confronting Australia and New Zealand. The Conference theme is Mental Health Future For All with topics across the broad spectrum of mental disorders including Anxiety, Depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders, Bipolar, Dementia and Suicide.

Keynote Title: Education from Desperation – Learning from lived experience

Overview: A fit, strong, brave and proud man fell of the wall of life, and just like humpty dumpty, his whole being was shattered into a thousand pieces. You will hear how Allan picked up those pieces and took on the challenge to rebuild his life, turning hopelessness and worthlessness into resilience and recovery.

Allan Sparkes, CV VA
Allan Sparkes, CV VA

After 20 years as a front line Police Officer in the New South Wales Police Force, his career ended due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder coupled with a major depressive disorder. Suicidal and his life in tatters, he set about to re-establish his life. His recovery involved intensive psychotherapy, medication and determined effort. In 2009, with his wife and two young daughters, he set out to achieve a life- long goal and re-build his life, setting off in a yacht from England and sailing 16,000 nautical miles back to Australia.

Allan is a member of the National Leadership Group of Suicide Prevention Australia, a beyondblue Ambassador, a Soldier On Ambassador, an Inspirational Speaker and author. Allan also assists with the NSW Police Mental Health Intervention Team, the NSW Police Post Trauma Support Group.

Allan’s belief is there is a critical need for a more concentrated and proactive approach to suicide, PTSD and associated mental illnesses in our Police Forces, Emergency Services and Australian Defence Forces. Broader education and knowledge are vital to maintain the health, wellbeing and careers of the people who are critical to our society.