Hi, my name is Natalie and I’m a psychologist working for Canberra Health Services. I am also a keen gardener and music and audio-book lover.
I am passionate and committed towards helping others and I have a strong belief and trust in people’s strength, resourcefulness, and resilience. The principles of the Recovery College resonate strongly with me and I’m excited for this opportunity to be involved.
After suffering a mental breakdown as a result of workplace bullying, Georgina quit her job and has since been on the road to recovery, finding peace in creative arts. She has lived experience with mental health personally and in her family. She always tries to learn new things, take something away from experiences and expand on ideas. Some of her passions are art, writing and journaling, psychology and reading. You can catch her reading the same book for the 5th time, scribbling away in a notebook or plugged into music or youtube. Her creative zines are sprinkled around the college as a continuous practice in art that welcomes sharing.
Amie is a software engineer in her day job but studying a Cert 4 in Mental Health on the
side. As someone who hasn’t found the conventional medical approach very effective in
treating her own mental illness, she is passionate about improving the options available
to people experiencing mental illness so that people are more educated about what might
be helpful to them and can have more control in their recovery journey. Amie is a big
believer in finding time for activities that make you happy - for her, these are currently
running, cooking, playing card games and gardening.
Hi there, my name is Roisin. I’m an Occupational Therapist working in the Therapies Team within ACT mental health services. I love my work and believe that being able to get on with those “little” basic things in life makes a big difference to our mental health. I enjoy walking alongside people on their recovery path, sharing our knowledge and experience and learning together. The concept of the Recovery College resonates really well be me and I’m excited to have the opportunity to be involved.
Another thing that I am enthusiastic about is my newfound hobby learning to play the Ukele! I’m not sure my neighbours feel quite the same way!
Chris has lived with depression and anxiety since his mid-teens and over the years has developed CPTSD. He also lived with alcohol dependency for over 36 years but has now been sober since October 2013. Chris is the Deputy Chair of the ACT Mental Health Consumer Network, a consumer representative and educator, and a SMART Recovery Group facilitator. Chris worked as a Geotechnical Engineer for over 30 years, but is now pursuing a career in disability support, with an emphasis on exercise and education in recovery. Chris is currently studying for the double degree of Psychology and Sports & Exercise Science at the University of Canberra. Read more about Chris' recovery journey...
Emily is a self-professed wanderluster, photographer, book obsessed, ice-cream enthusiast, right brain, first on the dance floor, chaser of sunshine, adventure and that perfect light! She has a Bachelor of Design (Photography) and Cert III in Early Education & Care. Emily started as a student of the College and experienced first-hand the benefits of the education provided in the courses. To be given the opportunity to provide this for others as a Peer Educator is something Emily cherishes greatly. “I love that a person with lived experience is seen at the College as someone who has positive life skills to share based on their own experiences and mental health journey. I am also excited to learn from the Professional Educators I have the privilege of working alongside. “ Emily promotes a holistic approach to mental health recovery, which aims for thriving, not just surviving.
Twisty has a strong drive to help people. She volunteers with the State Emergency Service (SES), St John Ambulance (ACT) and the Australasian Road Rescue Organisation (ARRO). Twisty has lived experience of mental health issues, both as herself and as a carer. Being involved in the community helps her mental health recovery. She loves teaching first aid and has a real interest in mental health first aid as a natural extension of physical first aid. Twisty loves teaching, learning, mentoring and sharing knowledge. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, walking, Geocaching and making fake wounds.
I was born and raised in Ghana until 2013, when I came to Australia to further my studies. I hold a degree in Social Work and currently work with Canberra Health Services as a social worker / clinical manager. My role in this position is primarily to ensure that the individuals I work with have access to adequate mental health support/care and treatment.
I am very friendly and always seeking out to meet and learn from diverse people to promote community connectedness. I have taught in the past as a teacher and I want to use that experience to promote the wellbeing of people affected by mental health concerns. I am a lover of soccer with interest in the other sporting codes here in Australia. I have volunteered in the past with Communities@Work and looking forward to doing the same with ACT Recovery College.
I’m a Psychology and Counselling student living South side with a housemate and his very fluffy cat. I have personal experience with mental health issues and managing them is a focus of my everyday life. I’m a strong believer in consumer-led healthcare approaches and recovery, and want to be a part of bringing hope and resources to anyone struggling with mental health issues.
Creativity evolves as we experience, explore + express! For as long as the seasons have changed, I have had curiosity to experience explore + express CREATIVELY. I have CREATED my life through lived experience and overcoming personal trauma. Exploring creative practices as a tool for self-care, strength + resilience + developing self-esteem, I now have an Adv. Dip. Transpersonal Art Therapy and Holistic Counselling. I am also an Eco-artist, using ‘gathered’ gifts from nature, selling my products at markets & festivals, far + wide. Nature is my companion + my craft. Creativity my compass + the Seasons my guide!
Keith is a social worker and mental health advocate who has been employed in the mental health sector in Canberra for more than a decade. His volunteer work has focused on raising awareness of recovery and challenging stigma. To this end, he has shared elements of his own lived experience of bipolar disorder and recovery, including to the ABC, Senate Select Committee on Mental Health and World Psychiatric Association International Congress, as well as in his chapter in ‘Coming Out Proud to Erase the Stigma of Mental Illness: Stories and Essays of Solidarity’ (Corrigan, Larson & Michaels, 2015).
I am currently studying a double degree in Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Bachelor of Human Health. I am also the co-owner of an online coaching business focused on educating people about the core principles of training and nutrition, as well as helping individuals develop flexible, balanced and most importantly sustainable training and nutrition habits. One of my personal goals with coaching is to help individuals develop a healthy and positive relationship with food and exercise. My own lived experience with mental illness came from being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, which was when I subsequently spiraled into depression and anxiety. I used primarily exercise, nutrition, gratitude and meditation to overcome my adversities during this period. Ever since this experience it has motivated me to give back to the community and help improve other people's quality of life, especially those suffering from chronic conditions.
My name is Tianne and as someone with lived experience, I am passionate about giving back to the community by passing on the resources I've acquired so far in my recovery journey. Despite physical and mental setbacks I've learnt to manage the ongoing symptoms of C-PTSD, BPD, Depression, Anxiety, disordered eating and chronic pain. I have studied in Mental Health and Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and dream of seeing the DBT skills taught to young people in schools, to help minimize harm and prevent suicide in both young people and adults. By using social media to share my story I advocate to stop the stigma and raise awareness for mental health and chronic pain. You can find me @tia.casey on Instagram or at the ACT Recovery College
Thomas is an Occupational Therapist and Project Officer within the Mental Health, Justice Health and Alcohol and Drug Service (MHJHADS) at Act health. His current work is focused on improving health systems. He has held a long interest in the Recovery College concept after participating in co-designed workshops in the past and is looking forward to being involved. Outside of work Tom can generally be found running and cycling with - and from - his kids.
I’m a mental health researcher and have been living with bipolar 1 disorder and generalised anxiety for more than 20 years. I’ve worked very hard to blend my lived experience and my professional skills to ensure research is focused on lived experience and what we need from the system. My research is also part of my own ongoing recovery. I love the idea of the choice and control involved in Recovery Colleges, allowing people to use education to help themselves in a non-judgemental environment.
Jana is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist who works for Canberra Health Services within the MHJHADs division across acute, rehabilitation and forensic mental health settings. Jana is a keen outdoors woman who loves skiing, camping and four-wheel driving. When she’s not outside, Jana is also a keen calisthenics dancer, traveller and Netflix enthusiast. She is excited to be able to work with Chris to co-design the ‘Movement is Medicine’ course. In her spare time Jana is studying her Masters of Mental Health Practice (Griffith University) and is looking forward to spreading the word about the benefits of physical activity.
Hi, my name is Fiona. As someone with lived experience, it is my desire to be able to help others along their recovery journey by sharing my skills, experience and hope. My professional background has been varied from working as an animal wrangler on a farm, coordinator for World Vision, to Maritime Warfare Officer in the Royal Australian Navy. I moved to Canberra 10 years ago, where I now reside with my assistance dog Leo and two bunnies. I’m excited to be given the opportunity to be a Peer Educator at the Recovery College and am looking forward to meeting new students.
Greg has lived 40 years with Bipolar 1 Disorder. He also has a Bachelor of Arts (Modern Languages), Diploma in Education, Masters of Educational Administration. 30 years Secondary School teaching including secondments in teacher training, syllabus and curriculum development. School sport coaching and management to national level. Volunteer Educator with MIEACT for 11 years. ACT Mental Health Volunteer of the Year 2012 for research into the development of MIEACT Do No Harm policy. Hobbies are Motorsport and enjoying my three legendary classic cars. “I have had a long, hard, but ultimately successful recovery and would like to help others achieve their recovery and hopefully help them overcome some of the obstacles on their journey.”
It was through the Buried in Treasures (BIT) course that I was confronted with the self-realisation that I was a hoarder rather than a collector and it is this journey that has made me passionate about bringing BIT to others who may be feeling overwhelmed by their belongings. I have an ongoing history of PTSD, anxiety, depression and chronic pain which I manage with mindfulness, meditation and exercise. I am currently on the Consumer Advisory Group for Directions Health Services.
Cate is currently working for Woden Community Service on the Hoarding Advocacy Support Service (HASS) trial. Since 2015, Cate has supported people in our community who are challenged by hoarding behaviours and insanitary conditions. She loves the fact the Buried in Treasures program gives power and insight to those who feel stuck in the old behaviour patterns. With information and understanding combined with the support of the educators and each other, people can create new positive habits and feel free to change how they experience the space they live in. Cate loves singing out of tune, dancing like it’s 1984 and laughing loudly and often. She is also partial to a good quote and this is her current favourite…
“ I am only one, but I am one.
I cannot do everything but I can do something.
And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” Edward Everett Hale