Discover real stories of personal resilience and growth in the Mindarma podcast series. Journalist Dean Yates speaks with workers in some of the world’s most challenging occupations about work, life and how they take care of their own mental health. This podcast is a companion to our online evidence-based resilience training program, Mindarma which is supporting thousands of workers worldwide. Host: Dean Yates. Sound Editor: Jason Myatt. Producer: Dr. Sadhbh Joyce.
Hello. It’s Dean Yates here, host of the Mindarma podcast. My next – and final guest — for this year is Dr. Sadhbh Joyce.
I was delighted when Sadhbh and her husband Jamie Watson, the co-founders of Mindarma, invited me to host this podcast series. It seems fitting to finish with a chat with Sadhbh.
What struck me when I met Sadhbh a few years ago was her extraordinary knowledge of workplace mental health, combined with a passion and empathy I’d never encountered from someone in this field before.
Sadhbh has played a key role in much of the ground-breaking academic research in Australia into workplace mental health. She did her PhD on mindfulness-based resilience training for emergency services personnel. She has a Master’s degree in Clinical Neuropsychology and holds an adjunct lecturer position at The Black Dog Institute and UNSW.
She has also treated people with work-related psychological injury and trauma in her private practice for more than a decade. And she worked on The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, supporting survivors and commission staff.
It is all this experience that gives Sadhbh a rare insight into workplace mental health. I hope you enjoy this podcast, which focuses on resilience, and a little bit of Sadhbh’s personal journey.
Our next guest on the Mindarma podcast is Associate Professor Sam Harvey, chief psychiatrist at the Black Dog Institute and head of the Workplace Mental Health Research Team at the University of New South Wales.
Sam is one of the world’s leading workplace mental health experts. Much of the ground-breaking workplace mental health research to come from Australia in the past decade has involved Sam. His advice is sought by governments, first responder organisations and the private sector. Sam also still practises as a psychiatrist and is incredibly passionate about mental health. We’re delighted that Sam can join us to share his insights and advice on creating mentally healthy workplaces.
Our next guest on the Mindarma podcast is Marian Spencer, head of people and culture at the Black Dog Institute, a globally renowned medical organisation that researches every aspect of mental health. The Black Dog Institute translates that research into practical solutions for individuals, schools, organisations and governments.
Marian has worked for 20 years in general and human resource management in the not-for-profit sector in London and Sydney. She believes in prioritising the human element of HR.
With Marian heading people and culture, The Black Dog Institute has won Employee of Choice awards for the past three years. It also won the 2019 Alan Fels Mental Health Award, which noted that more than 50 percent of The Black Dog Institute’s 200 employees had disclosed a lived experience of mental illness.
We’re delighted that Marian is with us today to share her valuable insights in placing the wellbeing of human beings at the heart of HR.
Our next guest on the Mindarma podcast is Guy Boland.
Guy survived a light plane crash near Moree airport in March 2011 that killed his parents and older sister. The pilot of the six-seater plane was also killed. Guy suffered life-threatening injuries while his daughter Hannah was seriously hurt.
Guy had more than 25 operations in the hospital over the following years. He managed to recover enough to take over the running of the farming and petroleum businesses that his parents had managed around Moree. Guy runs those operations, splitting his time from his home in Brisbane and Moree.
Guy’s story is one of amazing resilience. In 2018, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with his eldest son. Every year Guy also joins a group of friends he went to Sydney University within the late 1980s to go bushwalking, usually in Tasmania.
One of those friends is Dean Yates, host of this podcast. In this episode, Guy shares his remarkable story of survival with Dean and how hope, love, and friendship played an integral role to his recovery and wellbeing.
Our next Mindarma podcast features two guests, John McGarvey and Pauline Askin, who talk about their roles as peer supporters in the organisations they work for.
John is a senior firefighter at Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) and has been a member of the FRNSW peer network for over 10 years. John is also a Mental Health First Aid Instructor. FRNSW has had a peer support network for nearly 30 years, one of the oldest among first responder organisations in Australia. It currently has 60 active peers.
Pauline is the editorial office manager in Sydney for Reuters, the world’s largest news provider. Pauline joined the Reuters peer support network in 2016, a year after it was established. Reuters has 59 peers across the globe from a multitude of cultures and backgrounds.
While peer networks are well established in police and emergency services, they have yet to take hold in other sectors more broadly despite growing evidence that they can be a pillar of mental health support to employees.
Today John and Pauline speak with Dean Yates about the important role peer support networks play in their organisations.
Our next guest on the Mindarma podcast is Pam Barker, CEO of YFoundations, a not-for-profit organisation supporting young people in NSW at risk of, and experiencing, homelessness. Yfoundations is the peak body representing such youth in the state.
Pam brings enormous knowledge, wisdom and passion in advocating for the homeless. Indeed, Pam herself was in and out of homelessness in Queensland for five years — from the age of 14. This had a major impact on her education and wellbeing. She encountered significant stigma and prejudice.
But Pam refused to believe school teachers who said she’d amount to nothing. She’s built a career across the not-for-profit and community sector, working also with young people in the LGBTIQ community and other marginalised groups.
Pam is on various boards including Wayahead Mental Health Association NSW, a community-based organisation educating people and linking them to services and resources. Pam is also completing her undergraduate psychology degree part-time, specialising in youth. Pam Barker is definitely one of the most resilience people we’ve had the pleasure of meeting. She an extremely passionate advocate for mental health – we hope you enjoy her inspiring story of perseverance and resilience.
In this podcast, Dean Yates talks to Miles Hunt about his decade-long career as a personal injury lawyer representing employees with psychological injury claims. As Miles explains, it was persistent bullying he experienced at school that instilled in him a desire to fight injustice.
Miles paints an ugly picture of how organisations treat staff who suffer bullying, sexual harassment, or other mental health issues in the workplace. He talks about the catastrophic consequences for victims of workplace psych injury. Miles also offers excellent advice for organisations wanting to create a safer workplace and look after the mental health of their staff.
In our first Mindarma podcast, Dean Yates talks to Senior Firefighter, author and PhD Scholar Tara J Lal.
Tara is a full-time firefighter in Sydney. She helps run the psychological wellbeing program for Fire & Rescue NSW. She is trained in suicide prevention and mental health first aid.
Tara is extremely passionate about mental health. She is now half-way through a PhD, in which she is researching how firefighters cope with the tragic suicides they encounter on the job. When someone suicides, Fire and Rescue usually get called. Tara wants to understand how firefighters make sense of it all.
Tara’s family history has shaped who she is today. Born in London, some of Tara’s earliest memories are of the crippling mental illness her father has suffered all his life. When she was eight, Tara’s mother was diagnosed with cancer and died five years later. At the time, Tara turned to her sensitive fifteen-year-old brother Adam for support. Adam was grieving silently, pouring his thoughts into a series of diaries. Four years after their mother died, in his first semester at Oxford University, Adam took his own life.
Tara coped by keeping busy. By travelling. By never stopping. But her family trauma caught up with her. Tara spent many years trying to understand this trauma. Building her resilience. Finding meaning in life. That culminated in 2015 with the publication of her powerful memoir: Standing on my Brother’s Shoulders: Making Peace with Grief and Suicide. In this podcast Tara shares her valuable insights on building personal resilience in the face of adversity and trauma.
Welcome to the Mindarma Podcast Series – real conversations about what really matters. Hear what’s coming up in our first series and a little background on our host Dean Yates.