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R U OK? Sparking important conversations on mental health

Farah Parkinson
09 Aug 2019

Around 45 per cent of Australians will experience mental illness in their lifetime, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance is critical to ensuring your ongoing health. R U OK? Day runs on 12 September to help raise funds and awareness for suicide prevention with the mission to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with people around them and support anyone struggling with life.

We've selected a list of exceptional Australians who specialise in mental health, overcoming trauma and stress on a professional level, as well as some who have a lived experience overcoming adversity. These speakers will spark important conversations and drive real positive change in your school, organisation and personal life.

To engage any of these incredible presenters for an R U OK? Day event contact a member of our expert team via the website or email us at [email protected]

Head to the R U OK? Day website to donate or to register your event - this resource matches you with R U OK? Ambassadors who are available to attend your events.

Dr Michael Carr Gregg is one of Australia's highest profile psychologists. He is a specialist in parenting, children, adolescents and the use of technology for mental health.

Michael is passionate about combatting mental health issues with technology and the role of positive psychology.

Kylie van der Veer has shared her journey of recovering from a life-threatening eating disorder on A Peace of Nourishment, a documentary she expected to last a year. Over the course of the project she discovered that recovery cannot be scheduled.

Resilience and mental health make up just some of the discussions Kylie aims to start through her advocacy.

Matt Welsh has carved himself into Australian swimming folklore as one of our greatest ever swimmers achieving Olympic, World Champion and Commonwealth Games Success.

Matt now works with corporate and government clients to deliver practical, effective health and wellness programs to their organisations. These programs incorporate lessons from his years spent performing at an elite level along with knowledge from the team of expert sports psychologists, nutritionists and trainers that made up his team.

Dr Gill Hicks is a well-known advocate for Sustainable Peace and a valuable resource in Countering Violent Extremism. This is a journey she began after being permanently injured in the London terrorist bombings on 7th July 2005, and yet Gill is much more than just a survivor.

Considered to be one of the most thought provoking, powerful and life affirming speakers in Australia and the UK, Gill has much to teach on the choice to react and respond to change.

Sabina Read is passionate about normalising the universality of the human experience, believing that we all have more in common than we often realise.

As a psychologist and social commentator, Sabina assists others to accept we all possess the power of choice, and she shares evidence-based yet practical strategies to help manage stress that can overwhelm us all. Recognising the power of belonging and connection, Sabina also provides tangible take-away tools on how to develop thriving relationships, both personally, and professionally for leaders and teams.

Michael Bunting is the founder of The Mindful Leader and IOS/Android mindfulness app, Awakened Mind.

Michael works internationally on performance, leadership and wellbeing for some of the world’s most iconic organizations and his research has proven that mental wellness is absolutely integral to purpose driven leadership and workplaces that inspire and bring meaning to the next generation. His evidence based methodologies improve mental health, physical health, team performance and leadership effectiveness.

Kate Swaffer is changing the way the world views dementia. She has made a implementing a human rights based approach to dementia, reducing stigma and discrimination, and improving the quality of life for the more than 50 million people currently living with dementia her focus over the last few years.

Kate is living beyond a diagnosis of a rare form of younger onset dementia and was diagnosed in 2008. Kate was 48 att the time - a married, working mother of two teenage sons studying a double degree at the University of South Australia (where she is now a current PhD Candidate.) She is changing the narrative of dementia globally and in.

Finnian Kelly is the founder of Wealth Enhancers, an award-winning global community for millennials. Wealth Enhancers encourages participants to gain knowledge, understanding and critical skills relating to their finances and to live an intentional life.

Finn Kelly is the leading expert on how to have a healthy relationship with money and live an intentional life.

Dr Charlotte Keating is a well-known Australian psychologist and passionate advocate for the mental health of young people. She takes a contemporary view on how to treat the developing brain, as well as educating parents and executives about managing stress and optimising their personal and working lives.

Charlotte has a PhD in neuroscience related to anxiety, depression and body image disorders. Charlotte's scientific understanding of how the brain works, enables her to provide accessible, empowering insights into why think, and do the things we do.

Osher Gunsberg is one of Australia’s most recognisable media personalities. He is also a passionate mental health advocate through his weekly podcast and through joining the board of SANE Australia as a director.

Building an unshakable foundation for mental health from daily habits of positivity is at the core of Osher's advocacy.

Emma Murray is a qualified psychotherapist, mindfulness coach, NLP master practitioner and clinical hypnotherapist, who brings 20 years’ experience working with elite athletes, students and corporate executives. Emma’s life took an unexpected turn when her 14 year old son, Will, broke his neck jumping off a pier.

Emma tells the story of Will's tragic accident, and subsequent quadriplegia, in a way which captures the hearts and attention of her audience, inspires them to switch perspectives, and strive to improve the story they're living.

Mitch Wallis founded what is now known as one of the fastest growing online mental health initiatives in the world—Heart On My Sleeve.

Mitch is an emerging leader with a lifelong mission to empower others to overcome suffering and reimagine the healing power of the mind through the power of storytelling, community and technology.

Kath Koshel is one of Australia’s youngest CEO’s and the founder of the global movement and not for profit organisation Kindness Factory.

Demonstrating physical and mental resilience through challenges that most of us could not comprehend, Kath's story from a paralysis prognosis to leader of a global movement is nothing short of inspiring.

Shane Jacobson's memorable and extraordinary life is told through his best-selling book ‘The Long Road to Overnight Success’.

A beloved actor, director, writer, and comedian, Shane's sense of humour is just as pertinent on and off screen.

Jessica Rowe AM is a passionate advocate for mental health awareness, having herself experienced post natal depression. Jess is an ambassador for Beyond Blue and a patron of Mental Health Australia.

An accomplished journalist, television presenter and three-time best selling author, Jessica utilises her platform to ask her audience to accept the power of being vulnerable, of seeking help, and of cherishing moments of joy.

Few people have the drive and dedication of Mitch McPherson. When his younger brother Ty took his own life in 2013, Mitch, a glazier by trade, turned the devastating loss into the successful suicide prevention charity SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY. It is this phenomenal work which lead to his being awarded Tasmania's Young Australian of the Year in 2017.

Mitch has dedicated his life to spreading the message that nothing is so bad that you can’t talk about it.

True healing starts the day you feel understood. When you are real, there are no demons to hide from. Mitch Wallis
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