News • 30 Aug 2018

Achievement Awards – meet the 2017 winners and finalists

With the 2018 Queensland Mental Health Week Achievement Awards nearly upon us, and the nominations pouring in, here’s a refresh of our winners and finalists from 2017!

With the 2018 Queensland Mental Health Week Achievement Awards nearly upon us, and the nominations pouring in, here’s a refresh of our winners and finalists from 2017!

Individual Award

Winner: Marj Bloor for her contribution to the mental health sector as CEO of ARAFMI Queensland, which Marj led for close to two decades.  Marj was instrumental in transforming the organisation and the lives of many  staff, families, carers and people with lived experience of mental health.


Adam Lo for his work in advancing mental health care for young people.

Jacqui Littmann for her work as facilitator of the Nuts and Bolts Peer Support Group in Kilcoy.

Jude Bujega Peer Experience Award

Winner: Leilani Darwin has devoted her professional life to assisting other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to have access to mental health supports that she credits with assisting her to build her resilience and live a meaningful and productive life. Her passion and commitment to best practice, culturally safe and effective mental health services inspire the people around her.

Finalists: Grow Australia  provides mutual self help and peer support programs throughout Australia.

Martina McGrath for her work as a mental health and suicide prevention advisor.

Media Award

Winner: “When the Baby Blues Turn Black”, QWeekend, The Courier-Mail is an in-depth feature article combining personal experiences with post-natal depression, the expertise of medical professionals and mental health advocates, resulting in an engaging in-depth feature contributing to the breakdown of stigma surrounding mental illness. 


“The Bridge”, Australian Story, ABC the episode presented a powerful personal story of overcoming suicide, focusing on Donna Thistlethwaite who survived an attempt at suicide

“Mind at Work”, Insight, SBS, explored the issues that come with navigating the workplace with a mental illness both from the employee and employer perspective

Not-for-Profit Award SME (1 to 100 staff)

Winner: Access Arts is a leader in supporting vulnerable Queenslanders through art: people experiencing mental health problems, mental illness, learning difficulty, physical disability (often translating into depression and other mental health issues as a result of societal barriers); deaf people (prone to above average depression due to extreme isolation), fragile First Australians, and more recently frail elderly seniors, many with dementia.


Open Doors Youth Service provides programs to support LGBTIQ+ young people in South East Queensland.

The Eating Issues Centre a community based non-profit charity promoting positive body image and prevention of eating issues as well as offering supportive therapeutic options for people affected by eating issues.

Not-for-Profit Award (Medium to Large 101+ staff)

Winner: Cooinda Mental Health Service combines best-practice treatment programs and community outreach, continually striving to expand and develop new programs and community initiatives in-line with the needs of the community it serves. Their mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and their families.


Centacare Anam Cara Transitional Housing Program Anam Cara means ‘someone to walk with’ and to date the program has supported 120 adults with a diagnosed mental illness, in their recovery journey.

Holy Cross Laundry is a Disability Enterprise, providing integrated and inclusive employment opportunities for all with a focus on people with disability and the disadvantaged in the community.

Workplace Award SME (1 to 200 staff)

Winner: Bremer State High School aims to support the mental health and wellbeing of students and staff by providing initiatives to enhance wellbeing throughout the year. The school’s Mental Health Action Team collaborates with external professionals to develop practices and programs to improve student’s mental health and change the way in which mental health is viewed.


Child Aware Pty Ltd aims to ensure children, young people and families have access to high quality and affordable counselling and psychology services that promote hope, independence, and resilience.

Victoria Point State High School aims to promote and create a positive, inclusive and productive environment within the school by providing support and assistance to students that present with social, emotional, behavioural and/or mental issues/concerns through their Wellbeing Team

Workplace Award Large (201+ staff)

Winner: Queensland Ambulance Service for their ‘Priority One’ Program to promote the physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing of more than 4,500 ambulance personnel and their families. The Priority One program seeks to encourage and enhance the individual’s personal resources and introduce appropriate resilience mechanisms to deal with every day demands and challenges confronted in their daily lives to support mental health and wellbeing. 


King & Wood Mallesons for focus on supporting a psychologically healthy workplace through workplace programs and a strategic focus on creating a great place to work and grow.

Sunshine Coast Council for their FRESHminds program – an initiative under council’s FRESH health and wellbeing program which aims to provide a mentally healthy workplace that promotes awareness and understanding of mental illness, encourages early help seeking behaviours and reduces stigma.

Youth Award (25 years and under)

Winner: Nicole Gibson is a fierce ambassador for mental health, innovation and connection after recovering from her own terrifying lived experience with anorexia nervosa through her teenage years. Nicole works to normalise the conversation surrounding mental health, to break down the walls around stigma and shame associated with reaching out for health. In Nicole’s young career so far, she has facilitated workshops and presentations with over 250,000 Australians. 


Madeleine Ivett is passionate about improving the lives of others through her work in the disability sector, and is committed to reaching the best outcomes for clients in a collaborative, client centred approach.

Madison Birtchnell is passionate and focused about making a positive difference by working to improve the lives of people within her community regard to mental health, social justice and humanitarian issues.

Earle Duus Memorial Award (presented to our overall winner from our eight category winners)

Queensland Ambulance Service.

Our thanks again to our 2017 sponsors: Queensland Mental Health Commission, and category sponsors: Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP); Queensland Alliance for Mental Health and Queensland Health.

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