2020 Tasmanian LiFE Award Winners
Winners were announced at an award ceremony that took place at the Hobart Function and Conference Centre, on Thursday 19th November.
2020 saw the LiFE Awards reach a record 18 nominations across the four award categories. The judging panel were particularly impressed with the range of nominations received.
It was really inspiring to listen to the stories of the award recipients and take the time to recognise the many Tasmanians working in their communities to raise awareness about suicide prevention.
2020 LiFE Award winners were:
The Mental Health Council of Tasmania Outstanding Contribution LiFE Award was awarded to Tom Windsor
Tom Windsor has been working to raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention for over 13 years. After losing his father to suicide when he was 23, Tom turned a family tragedy into a commitment to help other men. He founded the Mobart Mo Bros as a way for his friends to show support after the loss of his father and has grown every year to become Australia's top Movember fundraising team for the past four years raising close to $1,000,000 to put back into men’s mental health programs.
Tom raises awareness of mental health and suicide prevention through his leadership of the team and his many events, media and public appearances. Tom’s work has received significant attention with his most recent achievement being awarded the 2020 Tasmanian Local Hero in the Australian of the Year Awards in January. He also represented Tasmania in that category at the National Awards in Canberra. Tom has no plans to stop and wants to continue to grow the team to stop so many men from dying too young.
The winner of the Lifeline Tasmania Communities in Action for Suicide Prevention LiFE Award was awarded to East Devonport Child and Family Centre
The East Devonport Child and Family Centre provides early childhood development programs and services for families with children up to the age of 5 and have become an unsung East Devonport Community Champion for suicide prevention.
The East Devonport Child and Family Centre is a connection hub and often the first place where young families/young parents feel comfortable to turn to in times of need, high stress, family and/or personal crisis. Often the Centre’s staff are the familiar face and ‘listening ear’ for local families, and the Centre is viewed within the East Devonport community as a ‘safe place’ for parents ‘doing it tough’ or in distress where they know they’ll be helped with information and support, and be connected to a service provider who can help.
After a successful Community Grant application the Blokes Group was established to come together to organise the ‘Lunch with Barnesy’ event and raise awareness of the importance of men’s mental health. The Blokes Group have now worked together with the oversight of the East Devonport Child and Family Centre to plan, organize and implement 3 events for men which continue to normalise discussions encouraging help-seeking in difficult times, enabling the sharing of stories of how other men have experienced and coped with challenging times in their lives, and enabling the continued sharing of the message ‘to watch out for a mate’.
They are a true example of a community coming together to do it for their community.
The winner of the TasNetworks Pty. Ltd Best Practice in Suicide Prevention in a Workplace LiFE Award was awarded to Monks & Co
Monks and Co Barbers have been actively championing mental health and suicide prevention in Tasmania for several years. They have recognised that a multifaceted approach is required to address mental health concerns and suicide prevention within the shop and have adopted an approach that meets this need. Their key focuses are:
- Promotion: Promoting positive mental health within the shop and community
- Protection: Addressing risks & protective factors in the shop
- Support: Supporting employees with their mental health at work
They are focusing their efforts to support staff members within the workplace, the clients they see day to day and also the broader Hobart community.
Monks recognise the gatekeeping role that they can play within the community and have been increasingly active within the suicide prevention and mental health advocacy space through training of staff in Mental Health First Aid & suicide prevention specific training, development of a Community Action Plan (CAP), development of a Monks & Co. own local crisis support & mental health resource booklet. Monks and Co. barbers see 250+ individuals each week, the majority of which are men. They are currently keeping their clients safe through the use of evidence-based safe conversation guides in the shop as developed through the Tasmanian Communications Charter.
The winner of the SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY Outstanding Contribution to Suicide Prevention by a Young Person LiFE Award was awarded to Matt Etherington
Since 2016, Matt has coached The Big Issue’s Community Soccer Program, an all-abilities social inclusion initiative using the power of sport to change lives. Players present with many risk factors for suicide and many have given up on traditional services.
Matt has supported players showing immediate and serious risk factors for suicide through companionship, referral and ongoing conversational support. He’s debriefed and supported players following the suicides of people close to them, which has included group discussions on risk and protective factors and how to discuss suicide.
Matt started a Mental Health First Aid training initiative at the University of Tasmania, in order to promote peer support and self-care. Since 2017, it has reached more than 600 students all around the state.
Both of these initiatives are highly effective at suicide prevention, building community resilience, establishing early intervention pathways, crisis preparedness, and postvention support.
Matt spreads messages of community connectedness, emphasising social supports and empowering young people to have agency over their lives, health and community. By focusing on protective and supportive factors, Matt’s work is displacing misconceptions about mental illness with a strengths-based perspective. This encourages people to maintain their own and others’ mental health, as they would look after their physical health and wellbeing.