One of Australia’s leading Institutes celebrated 25 years of delivering local, state and national mental health and suicide prevention programs with a corporate luncheon for 120 guests at the Surfhouse, Merewether Beach yesterday.
Everymind, who rebranded from the Hunter Institute of Mental Health in October this year, was first established in Newcastle in 1992 and was led by well-known psychologist Professor Trevor Waring for the first 12 years.
Over the past 25 years Everymind has grown to have a staff of over 40, delivering new innovation, training, policy and research to build the capacity of people across sectors to play a role in improving mental health and wellbeing, and preventing suicide.
Current Director, Jaelea Skehan said that the event was both an important celebration and a commemoration.
“Yesterday we brought together some of our local and national partners to celebrate our achievements and the relationships we have built over the past 25 years.
“It wasn’t possible to invite everyone who has been involved in our journey, but we had a selection of politicians, CEOs and senior leaders from local and national organisations, funders, people with lived experience of mental illness and suicide, as well as members of the media from across Australia who joined us to mark this special occasion."
"Our staff were really pleased that our Director from 2004 to 2012, Mr Trevor Hazell joined us for the event, as well as the family of Professor Waring, who led the Institute from 1992 to 2004.”
As part of the 25 year celebrations for Everymind, a new annual event for the Hunter Region was announced as a legacy to Professor Trevor Waring, the founding Director of the Newcastle-based Institute.
From 2018, Everymind will work in partnership with the Hunter New England Local Health District and University of Newcastle to bring an international expert to the region as part of an Expert in Residence Series to deliver workshops, talks and meetings focused on mental health or suicide prevention. As part of the series, an annual Trevor Waring Memorial Lecture will be delivered and open to health workers, academics and community members.
“The Expert in Residence Series and Trevor Waring Memorial Lecture acknowledges the significant roles that Professor Waring played in mental health and suicide prevention, and the contribution he made to the partnering organisations and the broader community across the Hunter region,” said Jaelea Skehan.
“Trevor Waring was a mentor to me and many others across our region. He was someone who invested in people, sharing his knowledge with clinicians, researchers, health and community workers, workplaces, families and members of the community.”
Everymind was first established by the Hunter New England Local Health District in 1992 as a self-funding solution to education and training needs of the mental health workforce and the community. The Institute broadened its scope to deliver state-wide and national programs within its first five years and has continued to expand its reach and influence.
Jane Gray, Director of Partnerships, Innovation and Research for the Hunter New England Local Health District spoke at the event and said that it’s a great opportunity to celebrate the work of Everymind and to recognise the legacy left by the founding director.
“The Hunter New England Local Health District is really proud of the work that Everymind has done over the past 25 years. Our local services, partners and communities have really benefited from their knowledge and expertise, their programs and their ability to connect national, state and local work to benefit the region."
“It is a fitting tribute to have Professor Trevor Waring acknowledged today as part of this milestone for the Institute. Trevor Waring gave so much to our local services and our local community, and having an annual event in his name will honour his contribution and the legacy he has left to all of us,” said Jane Gray.
From its humble beginnings, the growth and reputation of Everymind expanded from local education and training over the next 20 years to include national work in mental health and suicide prevention, including two-decades of work with national media in Australia to improve the reporting and portrayal of suicide and mental illness as part of the Mindframe Initiative. This Initiative was highlighted for its significant contribution by the World Health Organization in 2014 when it released its first global report on suicide.
Everymind has also pioneered pre-service training approaches for teachers and early childhood workers, developed innovative community and family programs like Partners in Depression and Conversations Matter and lead improvements in workplace mental health approaches across a range of industries and, more recently, the small business sector.
To coincide with the anniversary event, Everymind hosted two national suicide prevention advisory groups in Newcastle this week, bringing together national stakeholders from media, academia and the mental health and suicide prevention sectors.
The inaugural gathering of the national Communications Champions Group was held this week. Boasting some of Australia’s leaders in suicide prevention from key national organisations, the group will provide guidance across sectors and communities on the values and commitment to safe and effective communication about suicide. The Champions Group will also offer advice to support the development of a new Life in Mind online portal to catalogue and connect services and communities, which Everymind received Commonwealth funding for earlier this year.
The Mindframe team at Everymind also hosted their annual advisory group meeting with members from key national media outlets flying into Newcastle to discuss future challenges and opportunities for reporting and communicating about suicide and mental illness.