News • 15 Oct 2021

Congratulations winners of 2021 QLD Mental Health Achievement Awards!

The 11 winners have been announced at the QLD Mental Health Week Achievement Awards Breakfast ceremony today. The winners have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to improving the lives of Queenslanders living with mental illness during a pandemic.

Open Minds is delighted to congratulate our 11 award winners, announced this morning at the Awards Breakfast and Presentation Ceremony at the Brisbane Convention Centre.

The Awards, Queensland’s only state-wide mental health awards, recognise and celebrate individuals, groups and organisations working tirelessly to reduce stigma and support and empower those living with mental illness.

Open Minds has been hosting the QLD Mental Health Week Achievement Awards since its conception in 1996, to celebrate the often unsung heroes working to raise awareness and reduce stigma of mental illness.

The panel of judges selected the overall winner as Zero to Four Family Support Service, a service that offers support to vulnerable families, contributing to mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention, and assisting children to have the best start in life.

This service, based in Nundah, Brisbane, received the Earle Duus Award which comes with a $4,000 prize to continue their incredible work in mental health.

Paula Mayson, CEO of Open Minds said: “The mental health sector has had to respond to the needs of the community more than ever this past 18 months or so. It makes me proud to work alongside you all, as the heart of this sector is all about improving the lives of our clients, consumers, patients, participants, and members.

Louise Cox, Board Chair of Open Minds, said: “This year was the 25th year of the Awards. For those wanting to know more about how the Awards begun, here’s a brief history. In the 90’s, the Board of Open Minds received a bequest from Earle Duus who had received support from us as a young man.  Earle went on to be a successful financial accountant, philanthropist and his life passions were music and the Arts. And so the awards began in his honour. Today we still honour Earle with an award named in his honour, acknowledging the overarching winner who the judges collectively agreed should be the recipient of the Earle Duus Award and the grand $4,000 prize.”

The panel of judges shortlisted the finalists and winners from a record number of nominations submitted this year – with over 100 worthy nominations submitted.

The winners of each of the 11 categories are:

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

Dr Tahnee Bridson

Dr Tahnee Bridson was inspired to become a psychiatrist following the suicide of her friend and mentor. In addition to her work as a doctor in Far North Queensland caring for those with mental illness, Tahnee also volunteers to run Hand-n-Hand Peer Support Inc. which she founded in March 2020. This started as an idea, but with the encouragement of health leaders Professor Patrick McGorry, the Black Dog Institute and others, evolved to now provide support to 2000 healthcare workers nationwide.

Jude Bugeja – Peer Experience Award – Sponsored by RANZCP

Hand-n-Hand Peer Support Inc.

Doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers have increased rates of burnout, mental illness and suicide. In March 2020, Hand-n-Hand was set up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by a doctor in Far North Queensland. The group gained over 400 participants in less than 24 hours, indicating the need for grassroots, peer led initiatives. It’s a free peer support program which began in Queensland but has expanded to healthcare workers nationwide, who are matched to a peer from a similar field/training level.

Early Years Award – sponsored by Rio Tinto

Zero to Four Family Support Service 

The Zero to Four Family Support Service has a 40 year history of providing child and family support, including parenting support to vulnerable families. The service offers a unique volunteer intervention which is supported by an infant mental health stance and assists children to have the best start in life. The service contributes to mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention for infants and their families. Trained home visiting volunteers support children and their families in the community, through the early years of life.

Not-For-Profit Organisation Award – SME (1-100 Staff) – Sponsored by Queensland Health

Outback Futures 

Outback Futures (OBF) evolved in the bush with the bush, and it prioritises supporting remote Queensland communities to own and strengthen their mental health and wellbeing. OBF’s clinical teams consist of Psychology, Counselling, OT, Speech and language, and Learning/literacy support, ensuring a holistic range of service. With a child and family focus, and a unique combination of multidisciplinary face to face clinical work and consistent interim telehealth, it is seeing increased resilience and strengthened rural communities.

Not-For-Profit Organisation Award – Large (101+ Staff) – Sponsored by CheckUp


selectability works to improve the mental wellbeing of regional Queenslanders and contribute to suicide prevention. Over the last 5 years, selectability has delivered 900,000 hours of support to enhance the quality of life and wellbeing of 2,500 regional Queenslanders living with mental illness. selectability believes that all regional Queenslanders have the right to access quality mental wellbeing support regardless of where they live. selectability supports people to secure housing, employment to connect to their community, live more independently, and make positive choices.

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

Cooper Grace Ward 

Cooper Grace Ward’s Wellness Committee has a focus on the delivery of programs that promote and enhance mental health and wellbeing of team members. Legal professionals are at high risk of suffering from psychological distress and illness, hence the importance of supporting and promoting mental health in the workplace. The Wellness Committee Chairperson, is one  of the few lawyers in Australia who is also a qualified Mental Health First Aid Instructor, accredited through Mental Health First Aid Australia.

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

Queensland Ambulance Service, Mental Health Response Programs 

Last year the QAS responded to over 60 000 people experiencing a Mental Health Crisis. First responders play an important role in how a person recovers from a mental health crisis. The QAS Mental Health Response Program facilitates the provision of timely, appropriate and consumer focused care to people in crisis, and those recovering from a mental health crisis. The program is informed by people with a lived experience of mental health crisis and the services have been developed to address these needs.

LGBTI+ Award – sponsored by The Queensland Council for LGBTI Health

 Queensland Children’s Gender Service 

The Queensland Children’s Gender Service (QCGS) aims to improve the health, wellbeing, and function of Queensland children diverse in gender identity. The service seeks to co-create treatment plans with the young person, their parents/legal guardians and the team to reduce gender dysphoria; ameliorate harms related to family attunement, bullying, discrimination and social exclusion; and address psychological distress. The QCGS has proactively engaged consumers, carers and services in co-designing its model of care, delivering clinical services, developing resources, providing training, and raising community awareness across sites and systems throughout Queensland.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award – Sponsored By RFQ

ImpaRa program 

ImpaRa is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention program for young people. In the past three and half years that ImpaRa has been operating, it has worked with close to a thousand participants who have lived and still manage their mental health. ImpaRa has a range of 30 workshops to address cultural, vocational, educational, clinical, social, and emotional needs. These practices are delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait professionals in support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Elders of the community.

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

Communify Qld ASRA collaboration 

The ASRA Asylum Seeker and Refugee Assistance Collaboration, coordinated by Communify Qld, is comprised of 6 key settlement and mental health agencies in Brisbane who are dedicated the care of the most marginalised people seeking asylum on Bridging visas. Individuals and families are assisted with physical and mental health, housing, emergency relief, and visa advice. This is through a commitment to early intervention, a shared database, wholistic, trauma informed and culturally sensitive care and support. Communify Qld also manages Bardon crisis accommodation for homeless asylum seekers.

Schools Award – Sponsored by headspace

Mentally Flourishing Schools – Mountain Creek State School

Mountain Creek SS has prioritised a planned approach for student and staff mental health and wellbeing.  Following a Wheel of Wellbeing (WoW) intensive training workshop, teachers and guidance officers have progressively developed and expanded the WoW messaging and resources through activities, curriculum, and classroom teaching practices.  The school is putting mental health and wellbeing at the centre of school decision making and WoW thinking and practice has been integrated into school wellbeing and behaviour management policies.

Thanks to this year’s Achievement Awards sponsors

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