News • 26 Sep 2019

Achievement Awards Finalists Announced!

Achievement Awards Finalists Announced!

30 finalists for the 2019 Queensland Mental Health Week Achievement Awards have been shortlisted by the judges! Read about their incredible work and achievements in mental health here.


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Buy tickets to attend the breakfast ceremony on Friday 11th October to witness the winners being announced!

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30 finalists have been shortlisted for the 2019 Queensland Mental Health Week Achievement Awards, but only 10 will be crowned winners at the ceremony on Friday 11th October 2019.

The Achievement Awards recognise and celebrate individuals, groups and organisations working tirelessly to reduce stigma and support and empower those living with mental illness.

Now in its 23rd year, the Awards ceremony takes place during Queensland Mental Health Week, and it is considered a major event on the Queensland Mental Health Week annual calendar.

The 10 Award categories recognise individuals, workplaces, not-for-profits, as well as people with lived experiences of mental illnesses who now use their experiences to help others.

This year, two new award categories were added: Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Award and Early Years Award. These new categories recognise those who empower and work to improve the lives of people who identify with those communities and live with mental illness.

The Awards Breakfast and Presentation Ceremony will take place on Friday, 11 October from 7:30am – 10:00am at Brisbane City Hall. 

This year, a record number of nominations were received and judged by a panel of judges.

Dana Cole, Marketing Manager and Event Organiser at Open Minds, said: “The Awards provide those in the mental health sector, as well as families, carers, and those with lived experiences, with well-deserved accolades and acknowledgement. Being shortlisted as a finalist in itself is testament to the hard work and dedication these people and organisations have demonstrated towards improving the lives of people with mental illness. We are pleased to have once again received more nominations this year than ever before, and we look forward to this event continuing to grow in reputation and prestige. On behalf of everyone at Open Minds, our sincere congratulations to our Awards finalists and nominees, and we look forward to celebrating with everyone at the Presentation breakfast."  

The finalists in each of the 10 categories are:

Jeff Cheverton Individual Award – sponsored by QLD Alliance for Mental Health

Helen Webster

Helen is a mental health nurse who co-founded Holidays for Health: a NFP designed to enable women with mental illness, who are impacted by poverty, to have a short holiday. Feedback from past attendees have expressed that the short breaks that they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford, have enhanced their lives and increased their resilience and coping capacity.

James Hill

James is a speaker for Beyond Blue, mental health first aid instructor, suicide SAFEtalk instructor and mental health advocate for Energy Queensland. James is passionate about awareness and de-stigmatising mental illness. By sharing his own mental illness experience, he creates better awareness in communities. This year James was a guest panellist at the Queensland Mental Health Commission, Shifting Minds forum.

Sammy Leone

Sammy is a Director of Pass on the Fire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation, which uses sports and healthy lifestyle programs to address mental health and social issues. One of these is The Boss Boxing, a culturally safe healthy lifestyle program for groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, CALD, LGBTIQA+, people with disabilities, and the broader population.

Jude Bugeja - Peer Experience Award – Sponsored by RANZCP

The Healing Circle

The Healing Circle is a peer-mentor support group for young people recovering from self-harm. The group was pioneered by Vanessa Howgego four years ago, with the aim of reducing self-harm, after overcoming her own mental illnesses. The group meets fortnightly and provides an online forum; it is a grass-roots, consumer-driven therapeutic model that accommodates the needs of each individual. 

Karen Tyrrell

Karen is a survivor of parent-teacher bullying and mental illness, who shares her personal story of recovery to assist others, through writing and public speaking. She has written multiple books about anti bullying, mental health, self-care, mood swings, and how to develop coping skills. She has also spoken at 30 Australian schools and has presented 20 Bully Prevention Writing Workshops. 

Kerry Geraghty

Kerry draws on her lived experience to support parents and carers within child and Youth Mental Health Services to have a voice in their child's recovery journey. She does this through individual support, engagement through advisory groups and embedding codesign into services. Kerry also developed a range of consumer and carer friendly resources, websites, and videos to support this.

Early Years Award – sponsored by QLD Health

Curlew Cove Children and Family Place (CFP)

Support for children 0 to 8 years and their families, in the form of free transport, peer-mentoring and parenting support, providing a safe haven for the local community. The Southern Moreton Bay Islands has some of Australia’s most vulnerable children and families. The CFP is based on Macleay Island, and provides support to 5 offshore islands.

Reminded Mind Health Clinic - Reminded Kids

For over a decade of working with children as young as 2, parents and supports, to ensure optimal mental health from a young age in group and individual psychological therapy. Reminded Kids, based in Noosa Heads, has a strong emphasis on education to caregivers and equips them with parenting strategies to assist their options and improve outcomes for themselves and the child.

Sunshine Coast Hospital & Health Service - Mindful Mum's Group

Based on the Sunshine Coast, this program was developed by a Midwife and Mental Health Nurse to support expectant mothers to reduce worry and depression symptoms throughout pregnancy and after birth. Developed 3 years ago, the program gives pregnant women experiencing anxiety, depression and stress, the opportunity to practice mindfulness, and give and receive support in a group setting.

Not-For-Profit Organisation Award - SME (1-100 Staff)

PAWS for Hope and Understanding inc

PAWS supports the wellbeing of ex-service personnel and their families through the provision of emotional support dogs that improve the quality of life for sufferers of PTSD. The PAWS training program goes beyond training support dogs for sufferers of PTSD. Courses are undertaken in conjunction with families and carers in resilience training, managing stress and personal awareness.

ReachOut Australia

Through research, partnerships and collaboration, ReachOut is an online mental health organisation, designed with young people, for young people. ReachOut offers self-help, apps, programs and peer support. ReachOut provides connection and hope, builds confidence to seek professional help, provides support between treatment, develops wellbeing, and supports young people to be well, get well and stay well. 

Darling Downs and West Moreton PHN - Empowering our Communities in Drought Affected Regions

A program  that works alongside farmers and communities afflicted by drought who have lived experience, to fund community-led mental health, suicide prevention, and social and emotional wellbeing initiatives. Reduced profits from farming, long working hours, increased loneliness (from reduced number of staff) are all effects of drought conditions that result in poorer mental health outcomes.

Not-For-Profit Organisation Award - Large (101+ Staff)

IMPACT Community Services

Based in Bundaberg, IMPACT provides mental health support in a non-clinical setting. Clients experience reduced levels of anxiety in a “Safe Space” they know and are comfortable with. By partnering with a local Psychiatrist and Mental Health Social Worker, over 100 IMPACT clients have benefitted from accelerated access to mental health treatment, social support and rehabilitation.

MSAMHS PA Foundation Mobile Intensive Rehabilitation Team

The Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Service PA Foundation Mobile Intensive Rehabilitation Team provides mental health services for people with severe and persistent mental illness. It provides people with services to meet goals including physical activity and yoga, sensory modulation, cognitive therapies including CBTp, social cognition and cognitive remediation, social inclusion groups, cooking and nutrition and medication consultations.

yourtown - Kids Helpline

Based in Brisbane, Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free, confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for people aged 5-25, who are at risk of or experiencing mental illness. Since 1991, Kids Helpline has responded to over one million contacts from young Queenslanders, giving 24/7 access to professional, evidence-informed, age appropriate interventions and services for young Queenslanders.

Workplace Award - SME (1-200 Staff) – sponsored by Office of Industrial Relations

Bayside Initiatives Group Inc. (BIG)

Since 2000, BIG has been supporting people with mental illness in the Redland and Bayside areas by offering peer support, advocacy, and participation in social networks and community events. BIG is a peer support community, managed and operated by those with lived experiences. Through groups, workshops, activities, and 1-on-1 support with peer workers, BIG helps people on their recovery journey.

Open Arms Veteran’s & Families Counselling - Townsville - Peer Support

A two-year pilot program providing current and ex-serving ADF members and their families with supports including counselling, case management, group mental health treatment programs, suicide prevention training and peer support. Open Arms Townsville recruits three ex-ADF members with lived experience, as Peer Advisors. They effectively work alongside clinicians to enhance service delivery outcomes for clients and the community.

Metro South Mental Health Unit - Psychosis Team Woolloongabba

Angie and the psychosis team at Woolloongabba work to promote the quality of life and wellbeing of people with mental illness by tailoring treatment to individuals in a respectful way. Angie and the team were nominated by an individual who has been under their care for the past eight years, enabling this person to see a positive future and rebuild their life.

Workplace Award - Large (201+ Staff) – Sponsored by WorkCover

Energy Queensland

Energy Queensland have made employee wellbeing a priority by appointing 2 passionate lived experience Mental Health Advocates to provide education, awareness and support for over 7,500 employees. The aim is to break down stigma surrounding speaking out about mental illness. Energy Queensland has also assisted in the development of Mates in Energy, a suicide prevention program backed with evidence based research.

Brisbane City Council Mentally Healthy Workplaces

For providing services and resources for their 9,500 employees to help them take charge of their own mental health and support colleagues, family and friends. Initiatives include: mental health awareness training, mental health first aid training, wellness e-learning, wellness programs, resources and information, mental health framework, and an Employee Assistance Program with 24/7 counselling.

Person Centred Care Program - Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services

An interactive educational program at Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Services, enabling staff to reflect on patient experiences to enhance their mental wellness, develop skills, and become more mindful. By raising awareness and knowledge within the workforce of the difficulties and barriers that consumers, carers, families and staff experience, the Person-Centred Care Education Program provides focus on continuous improvement.

LGBTI+ Award – sponsored by QuAC


Wendybird is a not-for-profit, volunteer run community group led by LGBTIQ people. It creates safe and supportive spaces for people to connect and find a sense of belonging, which can be difficult for LGBTIQ people due to stigma and discrimination. The team understand the role that connection, belonging and community plays in mental health, well-being and reducing suicide. 

Yarns Heal IndigiLez Womens Leadership and Support Group and gar'ban'djee'lum Network

The Yarns Heal campaign brings together Indigenous LGBTIQ+SB people and the wider Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in the Brisbane North area to talk about Suicide Prevention and strengthen Peer-to-Peer support systems. Yarns Heal was co designed with community, supporting through care pathways with Aboriginal psychologists, with the option of participating in Cultural Healing retreats.

PRIDE Art Therapy Program

The PRIDE Art Therapy Program works with LGBTIQ+SB people from age 12-24 within Brisbane and greater SE QLD to improve mental health outcomes by building connections to peers and community. The program has reached over 4,500 LGBTIQ+SB young people since 2017, and encourages self-expression and self-care in healthy, safe ways by decreasing stigma and increasing social inclusion.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award – Sponsored By RFQ

Stepping Black Indigenous Corporation Australia

Stepping Black created the Safe Aboriginal Families in Eidsvold (SAFE) program to strengthen families and the Aboriginal community in North Burnett, by running groups for men, women and young people. The inclusive program collaborates with First Australians to provide opportunities for families to engage in culturally safe, social interaction on a regular, consistent basis.

Institute for Urban Indigenous Health

The IUIH program- MomenTIM, aims to drive improvement in the mental health and well-being of young Indigenous men aged 12-25 years through early intervention, health outreach, training and education. The program is delivered by Indigenous men in the community of Moreton Bay, Mt Isa, and Wellington (NSW). The program focuses on self-care education and destigmatising mental illness.

Belinda Ott

Belinda, Program Manager at Kurbingui, uses her knowledge, experience and leadership to support those effected by mental illness and suicide, ensuring the support is high quality and culturally safe. Belinda's passion for mental health and suicide prevention has inspired support of Kurbingui programs, gaining partners to deliver activities that support community members of all ages.

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Award – Sponsored by QMHC

Mater Refugee Complex Care Clinic Psychiatric Assessment Service

For helping Refugees and Asylum Seekers access psychiatric care at no cost, regardless of Medicare eligibility. Its goal is to strengthen pathways to heal past experiences of torture and trauma. The clinic focuses on those who present with complex health and mental health needs and require a culturally appropriate psychiatric assessment and treatment plan, including interpreters and translators when required.

Harmony Place

Harmony Place has developed the Pathways Project to provide psychological assessments to CALD clients with psychosocial disabilities to bridge the gap between client needs and appropriate service access. The program uses culturally competent practitioners to connect with individuals who would otherwise have difficulty explaining the symptoms of their psychosocial disability to a mainstream allied health professional.

Romero Centre

For two decades, Romero has supported people seeking safety and asylum in South East Queensland. Romero supports women, men and children to access essential services including housing and employment. Romero’s services promote psychological wellbeing for participants. Working alongside participants, families and agencies, Romero aims to reduce isolation, restore hope and create pathways to community integration.

We would like to thank this year’s Achievement Awards major sponsor: Queensland Mental Health Commission and category sponsors: Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP); Queensland Alliance for Mental Health, Queensland Health, QuAc, RFQ, WorkCover QLD, and the Office of Industrial Relations.

Buy tickets

Buy tickets to attend the breakfast ceremony on Friday 11th October to witness the winners being announced!

Buy tickets