There are many misconceptions and stigmas associated with employing people with psychosocial disability. While there is a lot written about psychosocial conditions there is little on best practice employment assistance for people with psychosocial disability to find and retain work. The panel will explore the following themes and more:
• Have community understandings of psychosocial disability improved in recent years? How can we be agents to continue to improve community awareness, understanding and confidence?
• What stereotypes or perceptions of psychosocial disability persist?
• What supports and messages can assist an employer considering employing a person with a psychosocial disability?
• What are three things that can be done to improve employment rates for people with psychosocial disability?
• How can the NDIS support people with psychosocial disability?

David Coles

Disability Employment Australia

David is currently State Manager - Victoria for EPIC Assist and has been a senior manager in Disability Employment for over ten years. He has previously held management positions in the sector with Barkuma, Job Prospects and Employment Plus. David has been a Director of Disability Employment Australia for three years. He has also represented the DES sector in South Australia as Chair of Disability Employment SA (DESA); a position he held for four years.
David came to employment services from a long management career in the wine industry where he explored service, sales and supply chain logistics. Outside of the disability employment sector, David had served for four years in a technical and governance capacity on the Triathlon Australia Board.

Georgie Harman

Chief Executive Officer

Georgie has significant and broad-ranging leadership, policy and service delivery experience in the community, public and private sectors. Georgie was appointed as the CEO of beyondblue in May 2014 where she has led a significant expansion of effort and results in service innovation, suicide prevention and digital solutions.
Previously, she was the Deputy CEO of the National Mental Health Commission, providing independent advice to government on mental health reform. From 2006-2012, Georgie had national responsibility for mental health, suicide prevention, substance misuse, cancer and chronic disease policy and programs as a senior executive at the Commonwealth Department of Health. She led the development of the largest ever mental health Budget package. At the same time, she was responsible for the strategy and development of legislation to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products in Australia – a world first. Georgie has also led national reforms to lift Australia’s organ and tissue donation rates and worked in the HIV/AIDS sector in Australia and the UK.

Frank Quinlan

Chief Executive Officer
Mental Health Australia

Frank Quinlan is the CEO of Mental Health Australia, the peak body representing mental health organisations in Australia. Frank is responsible for implementing Mental Health Australia’s vision of “better mental health for all Australians”.
Frank has a long history of working in the not-for-profit sector, having previously worked at Grassmere Youth Services, Tranmere Street Youth Refuge and the Australian Drug Foundation. He has also held senior positions with the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia, Catholic Social Services, and the Australian Medical Association. Frank is an energetic advocate for disadvantaged Australians and for the community and not-for-profit sector, and has represented the interests of both his members and the sector on numerous government consultative panels and committees currently including: National Drug and Alcohol Advisory Council, the National Disability and Carers Advisory Council, and the Primary Health Network Advisory Panel on Mental Health.
Frank completed tertiary studies at both Monash University and Melbourne University and has been a guest lecturer in public policy programs at the Australian National University. Frank is the father of three adult daughters and is a recently qualified recreational pilot.

Dr Gerry Naughtin

Strategic Advisors and Research
National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)

Gerry Naughtin is the Strategic Adviser, Mental Health in the Strategic Advisers and Research Division of the NDIA. He brings extensive experience in the community mental health sector to this this position. Prior to taking up his position with the Agency, he was the Chief Executive of Mind Australia and brings nine years of sector and policy experience to his position. He was a member of the Independent Advisory Council to the Agency and along with Janet Meagher led the IAC’s work on mental health and the NDIS. He has been a member of the Expert Advisory Group to the Mental Health Service Planning Group and was a member of the VICSERV Board for five years. Gerry has an extensive career in human services in the disability and aged care sectors and has a strong history of engagement on consumer and carer participation.

Anthony Hart

Hart Wellbeing

Anthony Hart is a passionate social entrepreneur, advocate for good mental health and a man on a mission to shift the narrative around mental health in Australia. It was an ironic 'fall to freedom' in 2003 that forever altered Anthony's destiny. As a 28-year-old wearing all of the masks of a highflying corporate job, not even Anthony himself could have predicted he would actively choose to walk off a 21 storey building in the heart of Sydney city, yet that is exactly what happened. Depression had silently yet cunningly led him to death's door. In a twist of fate, Anthony's life was saved when he landed on a balcony 11 floors down and while there is no denying the gruelling journey that lay ahead of him in order to find good health again, it was in this moment that Anthony's life purpose emerged. There was hope and a new life began.

Anthony is a man of integrity who has literally walked the edges of mental health crises via his own lived experience. This has enabled him the depth of emotional intelligence to truly understand and unpack the masks that veil our ability to acknowledge the impact of depression in our lives.

Today, along with Anthony’s work as a social entrepreneur and mental health ambassador, he is also a success in business. He has been part of building an eight store PETstock franchise group with his brother Nick and father Jeff within Australia’s leading pet retailer PETstock. This experience has given him valuable insight into what it takes to drive a profitable business that is built upon a foundation of high performance as a result of nurturing a mentally healthy organisational culture. Your business is a brain, and removing the masks of mental health matters to the health of your business.

Bill Gye OAM

Chief Executive Officer
Ostara Australia

Bill Gye (OAM), B.A. (Hons. Psych), Master Cognitive Science (UNSW). Bill has forty years’ experience of working in the community sector in a variety of frontline, but mostly management positions. Bill also worked for a period as a corporate trainer in Lateral Thinking and Skills. He has previously worked as the CEO of Options Community Enterprises, and was the General Manager Recovery Services for the Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW. Bill is currently the CEO of Ostara Australia (primarily mental health DES specialist). He enjoys walking and good coffee and this month’s interests are: recent advances in psychedelic psychotherapy, guaranteed minimum income, making AI safe and the role of inflammation in depression (as well as other “mental health” issues).

Sarah K Reece

Artist, Writer, Peer Worker

Sarah K Reece is an artist, writer, and peer worker specialising in adversity and diversity. They've founded international community networks that provide mental health support for more than 1000 people. Through their website, Sarah shares openly about their personal experiences such as being queer, experiencing disability and multiplicity. They manage or contribute to projects in a wide range of communities such as government, prisoners, rural carers, queer youth, and psychiatric inpatients. Their art practice is currently focused on ink and oil paintings and miniature sculptures. Like their writing and poetry it explores the personal inner world and what it is to be human.

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