Suicide Prevention Australia has announced the winners of the 20th Annual State LiFE (Living is For Everyone) Awards which celebrate the commitment and determination of those working towards the reduction of suicide within our communities.
Suicide Prevention Australia CEO, Nieves Murray said, “Every year we are blown away by the quality of nominations from right across the country, showcasing the incredibly important work that both individuals and organisations are doing in the community to prevent suicide.
“The work of these outstanding recipients is more critical than ever as we emerge from a global pandemic and navigate rising levels of distress due to compounding natural disasters and cost of living pressures.
“I’d like to personally thank the 2023 recipients for working so tirelessly to help improve the lives of others,” said Ms Murray.
New South Wales
- Outstanding Contribution category: Christine Morgan, CEO, National Mental Health Commission – Christine has actively contributed to suicide prevention reform, including delivery of the Final Advice to the Prime Minister on ways to achieve a connected and compassionate whole-of-government approach to suicide prevention in Australia. She also oversaw the development of the pandemic mental health and wellbeing response plan, the development of the National Suicide and Self-harm Monitoring System and the establishment of the National Suicide Prevention Office.
- Workplace category: Shayne Connell, CEO, LivingWorks Australia – Shayne has worked and volunteered in suicide prevention for more than 20 years. His extensive leadership experience includes chief executive of LivingWorks Australia, and now Vice President of International Development. In addition to leading the organisation, Shayne actively participates in community capacity building as a LivingWorks trainer and coach.
Australian Capital Territory
- Communities in Action category: Leesa Mountford, Founder, I Got You – Leesa started I Got You after she lost her son Josh to suicide in April 2021. While packing up Josh’s belongings, she found a handwritten note that said ‘I got you’. Finding this note sparked the idea for I Got You apparel, printing Josh’s handwritten message on apparel to be worn proudly, to create engagement with others to let them know they’re supported and raise awareness of suicide prevention.
- Priority Population category: Health in Gear Program (OzHelp) – OzHelp’s Health in Gear program is an evidence-based physical and mental health and wellbeing initiative for truck drivers, developed in collaboration with the transport industry. The program is designed to support drivers and their families to achieve optimal wellness through access to information and support.
- Communities in Action category: Sabrina’s Reach4Life – SabrinasReach4Life (SR4L) was established in 2019 by Lidia and Michael Di Lembo following the suicide of their 19-year-old daughter, Sabrina in 2017. SR4L is a volunteer, non-profit association based in Darwin. The small group of volunteers rely on fundraising, small grants and donations to fund specific projects and initiatives that contribute to suicide prevention and postvention in the Northern Territory.
- Outstanding Contribution category: Karen Phillips, General Manager, StandBy Support after Suicide – Karen has made an outstanding contribution to the growth and development of one of the most significant postvention services in Australia. StandBy’s services have grown and matured under Karen’s leadership over the past 10 years from a small pilot service on the Sunshine Coast to a National Service across all states and territories.
- Priority Population category: Lifeline Queensland (13YARN) – 13YARN is the first national crisis support line for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are feeling overwhelmed or having difficulty coping. The team offer a confidential one-on-one yarning opportunity with a Lifeline-trained Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Crisis Supporter who can provide crisis support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Communities in Action category: Jamie Mallinder, Marsh/Independent Community Advocate – Jamie has volunteered his time and championed suicide prevention in the community and workplaces in WA for over 15 years. During this period he has personally ran or supported in the development and management of various community events and peer support groups (Grounded Mental Health for Tradies) as well as sharing his own personal story at workplace and community events.
- Outstanding Contribution category: Soa Palelei, Wellness Ambassador, Strong Minds, Strong Mines – Soa Palelei is a retired Ultimate Fighting Championship champion turned Mental Health Advocate. He is currently the Wellness Ambassador of Strong Minds, Strong Mines, which is an organisation that reaches out to FIFO/DIDO workers all around Australia to combat casualties related to mental health.
- Workplace category: Strong Minds, Strong Mines –Strong Minds, Strong Mines is an advocacy-driven company that aims to address the gaps in the mental health space by catering to underserved markets such as the FIFO/DIDO industry.
- Priority Population category: Vicki McKenna, Head of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lived Experience Network – Vicki is both a Yawuru and Bunuba Jarndu (woman) with significant experience working in social and emotional wellbeing, and suicide prevention, postvention support and care, and critical response work. Vicki is a trained counsellor and a child psychotherapist who also has lived experience, having lost family and community members to suicide and has her own experience of suicidality.
- Workplace category: Fulton Hogan – Fulton Hogan is one of Australia’s largest construction, infrastructure services and utilities companies, employing 9,200 staff across the Tasman and Australasian region. In response to alarming statistics around mental health, Fulton Hogan formed a National Mental Health Steering Committee in 2020. The committee created a five-year mental health strategy to expand the company’s traditional focus on preventing workplace accidents to also include suicide prevention.
“We’ll be opening nominations for the 2024 LiFE Awards soon so keep an eye out and start thinking about those in your community or workplace that are doing innovative work in suicide prevention,” said Ms Murray.
If you’d like to learn more about the LiFE Awards and the various categories, head to our website for more information.
To get help 24/7, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, phone 000 for emergency services.
Help to report about suicide safely is available online: Go to https://mindframe.org.au/
Clare Kinsella 0427 689 689 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Amelia Hew 0410 591 134 or email@example.com
About Suicide Prevention Australia
Suicide Prevention Australia is the national peak body and we’ve been providing support for Australia’s suicide prevention sector for more than 25 years. We support and advocate for our members to drive continual improvement in suicide prevention policy, programs and services. Our reach is broad, including member organisations, governments, businesses, researchers, practitioners and those with lived experience. We are focused on an integrated approach to suicide prevention encompassing mental health, social, economic and community factors. We believe that through collaborative effort and shared purpose, we can achieve our vision of a world without suicide.