More than 75% of mental health issues develop before the age of 25 and there are fears for young people’s long-term wellbeing if they do not receive timely support and treatment. The system mostly runs in crisis mode, which means that it reacts to mental health crises instead of preventing them. 


One in two. That is the number of young people that were unable to carry out their daily activities in 2020 due to a decline in wellbeing, up from two in five in 2018. Adolescence is a time for developing individual identity and learning how to interact with the wider world without parents. Friends and peers are of paramount importance at this phase of life and the absence of peer connections at this critical time, especially with school disruptions due to COVID-19, is distressing.  


Akolade’s National Youth Mental Health Summit will examine the pre-existing challenges facing the youth mental health sector in Australia exacerbated by the pandemic and explore where there are opportunities for intervention, innovation and sustainable reform which are now more urgent than ever. Hear insight from industry leaders who will discuss the current research and developments, increase your network of fellow professionals and unite to lead youth mental health practices in Australia. 

Demonstrate the benefits of collective action in achieving clear positive outcomes for youth mental health 

Develop strategies to strengthening the community sector along with the peer workforce 

Provide seamless integration, collaboration and delivery of services 

Adapt a plan of action to prevent the rise in the increasing numbers of suicide  

Provide solutions for the on-going intergenerational disadvantage faced by the Indigenous community and addressing it as an immediate need to reform  


Christine Morgan

Chief Executive Officer

National Mental Health Commission

Aaron Wallace

Chief Executive Officer

Njernda Aboriginal Corporation

The Hon Greg Hunt MP

Minister for Health and Aged Care

Parliament of Australia

Anne Hollonds

National Children’s Commissioner

Australian Human Rights Commission

Rosalie Kickett

Director Cultural Mental Health Healer

Baranginge Koort

James Toomey

Chief Executive Officer

Mission Australia

Tony Stuart

Chief Executive Officer


Megan Krakauer

Project Director

National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project

The Hon David Coleman

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

Parliament of Australia

The Hon Luke Howarth

Assistant Minister for Youth and Employment Services

Parliament of Australia

Dr Leanne Beagley

Chief Executive Officer

Mental Health Australia

Gillian Yearsely

Chief Executive Officer


David Butt

National Chief Executive Officer

Grow Australia

Dr Sarah Pollock

Chief Mental Health Advocate

Mental Health Advocacy Service

Deborah Woods

Chief Executive Officer

Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service

Chris Giles

Chief Executive Officer

Kookaburra Kids Foundation

Lesley Nelson

Chief Executive Officer

South West Aboriginal Medical Services

Nieves Murray

Chief Executive Officer

Suicide Prevention Australia

Karyn Cook

Chief Executive Officer

Ngwala Willumbong Aboriginal Corporation

Deborah Childs

Chief Executive Officer


Gill Callister

Chief Executive Officer

Mind Australia

Arthur Papakotsias

Chief Executive Officer

Youth Focus

Bronwen Edwards

Chief Executive Officer

Roses in the Ocean

Kayeleen Brown

Chief Executive Officer

Katungul Aboriginal Medical Service

Gerry Georgatos

National Coordinator

National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project

Louise Lockyer

Advocate Consultant Mental Health

Baranginge Koort

Dr Bernadette Wright


CrossCultural Intellect

Andrea Creado


CrossCultural Intellect

Elvis Martin

Principal Ambassador

National Youth Commission Inquiry

Jasper Garay

Aboriginal Academic (Darkinjung/Ngarigo)

The University of Sydney

Kate Aitchison

Senior Music Therapist, Jacaranda Place Adolescent Extended Treatment Centre

Children’s Health Queensland

Mel Robinson

Director Aboriginal Health

Child and Adolescent Health Service

Danielle Abbot

Quality and Practice Lead

Family by Family

Carla Clarence

Principal Social Health

The Australian Centre for Social Innovation

Ross Jacobs

National Clinical Advisor


Christopher Hipwood

Manager - Youth Mental Health Program


Penelope Strauss

Research Fellow in Youth Suicide Prevention

Telethon Kids

Teresa Alice

Project Manager


Dr Melanie Newton

Project Manager

Wungen Kartup Aboriginal Mental Health Service

Damien Rotumah

Alcohol and other Drug Support Worker

Katungul Aboriginal Medical Service

Kurt Simpson

Alcohol and other Drug Support Counceller

Katungul Aboriginal Medical Service

Rich Read

Wellbeing Officer

Royal Perth Hospital

Michael Hertz


Royal Perth Hospital

Daniel Cazangiu

Peer Support Worker

Youth Mental Health Program, Outcare

Dr Jennifer Cohen

Evaluation Manger


Jonathan B. Singer


American Association of Suicidology

Dr Melanie Newton

Project Manager

Wungen Kartup Aboriginal Mental Health Service

Kelly Dhaemer

Clinical psychologist

Child and adolescent Mental health Services (CAMHS)


8:00 AM – Registration opens  


8:30 AM – Welcome to Country 

Uncle Richard Walley OAM, Aboriginal Consultant – Committee for Perth  

Director – Noongar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) 

Writer, Musician and Performer – Aboriginal Productions, Awareness and Events 



8:50 AM – Opening remarks from the Chair 

Gerry Georgatos, National CoordinatorNational Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project 

Opening keynote  

9:00 – Looking into the challenges and opportunities the pandemic has created 

  • Examining telehealth and the flexibility it offers 
  • Exploring other challenges and opportunities in providing access to services 
  • Adapting new practices for sustainable service delivery  

Christine Morgan – Chief Executive Officer, National Mental Health Commission 


Ministerial Address 

9:3– Focusing on the national youth mental health and the impacts of COVID-19 

The Hon Greg Hunt MP – Minister for Health and Aged Care, Parliament of Australia 

*Virtual presentation 


9:40 – Looking into the impact on children and young people of the recent pandemic 

  • Discussing challenges for families such as social disconnection, social distancing, and home-schooling 
  • Building resilience after the pandemic for children, young people, families, schools, and communities 
  • Evaluating the effects of the pandemic and its impact on youth wellbeing  

Tony Stuart – Chief Executive Officer, UNICEF 


Ministerial Address 

10:1– Supporting young Australians into jobs and training to reduce its effect on mental health  

The Hon Luke Howarth – Assistant Minister for Youth and Employment Services, Parliament of Australia 

*Virtual presentation 


10:2– Morning Refreshments and Mindfulness Activity 


Developing collaborative partnerships with community 


Chair – Ross Jacobs – National Clinical Advisor, Canteen 


Case study 

10:50 – Discussing Indigenous collaboration with community and alternative pathways to healing and recovery 

  • Discover treatment models that have been adapted which show impactful outcomes  
  • Understand how alternative pathway recovery models help victims gain self-awareness and self-worth   
  • Discuss experiences with diverse pathways to recovery, including traditional and non-traditional models 

Rosalie Kickett – Director Cultural Mental Health Healer, Baranginge Koort  
Louise Lockyer – Advocate Consultant Mental Health, Baranginge Koort  


Case study 

11:20 – Designing with community to improve outcomes for children and families and young people 

  • Setting strong foundations that lead to thriving partnerships 
  • Co-designing services and service delivery 
  • Identifying peer approaches and their impacts on the social determinants of health 

Danielle Abbot – Quality and Practice Lead, Family by Family  

Carla Clarence – Principal Social Health, The Australian Centre for Social Innovation 



11:50 – Discussing social and emotional wellbeing service experiences of Indigenous young people in NSW: listening to voices, respecting experiences, improving outcomes 

  • Focusing on Aboriginal controlled community health organisations as leaders in social and emotional wellbeing 
  • Creating engagement strategies with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young peoples in health research 
  • Introducing early intervention and prevention approaches in a crisis driven system 

Jasper Garay – Aboriginal Academic, The University of Sydney 


12:20 – Networking Luncheon 


Case study 

1:20 – Canteen Connect – a success story of co-designing an innovative online health community 

  • Identifying genuine co-design as a key concept for all areas of organisational innovation 
  • Developing agile online services to meet young people’s needs and preferences 
  • Understanding service growth and responsiveness to change existing ways of working to increase service flexibility and accessibility 

Ross Jacobs – National Clinical Advisor, Canteen 

Dr Jennifer Cohen – Evaluation Manger, Canteen  


Case study 

1:50 – The Links program: A multidisciplinary team working collaboratively to achieve better outcomes for young people and their families 

  • Discussing how to pool in experts and resources 
  • Identifying innovations and new ideas collaboratively 
  • Developing solutions and achieving better outcomes 

Christopher Hipwood – Manager – Youth Mental Health Program, Outcare 

Daniel Cazangiu – Peer Support Worker – Youth Mental Health Program, Outcare 


2:20 – Increasing cultural collaboration and awareness for Indigenous community 

  • Focusing on ways to educate, upskill and empower indigenous workforce 
  • Aiming to strengthen staff connection to identity and country 
  • Developing techniques for the workforce to be culturally aware and responsive 

Lesley Nelson – Chief Executive Officer, South West Aboriginal Medical Services 


2:50 – Providing community-based services that meet the growing demand for treatment  

  • Discussing ways to have services, support and care closer to home  
  • How to bridge the gap between proving what is needed and available resources  
  • Learning from experience and being culturally aware to deliver positive outcomes 

Mel Robinson – Director Aboriginal Health, Child and Adolescent Health Service 

Developing suicide prevention plans 



Chair – Gerry Georgatos, National Coordinator, National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project  


Case study 

10:50 – Developing psychosocial interventions for suicidal young people and their families 

  • Developing collaborations with families to reduce youth suicide risk 
  • Using safety planning as an intervention framework 
  • Identifying effective and cognitive techniques used in youth suicide intervention 

Jonathan B. Singer – President, American Association of Suicidology (USA flag) 

*Virtual presentation 



11:20 – Exploring a non-traditional approach to youth mental health 

  • Developing an effective approach to youth mental health and wellbeing in remote communities 
  • Considering implementing non-clinical approaches to youth mental health in remote communities 
  • Exploring the use of arts, culture and music as a wellbeing strategy 

Gillian Yearsely – Chief Executive Officer, NTPHN 




11:50 – It’s a new era – an era where people with lived experience are rightfully taking a central role in system reform, co-design and service delivery 

  • Empowering system reform through collaboration, perspective, diversity and expertise 
  • Examining bold innovation through co-design, service delivery and post-implementation iterative design 
  • Navigating power imbalance, risk aversion and stagnant thinking in order to truly meet the needs of the people we serve 

Bronwen Edwards – Chief Executive Officer, Roses in the Ocean 







12:20 – Networking Luncheon 


Case study 

1:20 – Discussing suicide prevention for LGBTQA+ young people 

  • Examining clinical approaches and community-based strategies to prevent suicide amongst LGBTQA+ young people 
  • Understanding the need for additional research into preventing suicide for LGBTQA+ young people  
  • Focusing on the importance of consumer involvement in clinical practice with LGBTQA+ young people 

Penelope Strauss – Research Fellow in Youth Suicide Prevention, Telethon Kids  



1:5– Examining the missing link: Outreach, the most important factor in suicide prevention 

  • How can we provide outreach in early intervention with suicide ideation 
  • Providing outreach to homes and to regional and remote areas for crisis stabilisation 
  • Developing outreach not only in aftercare but long term through care 

Megan Krakouer – Project Director, National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project  




2:20 – Providing constructive engagement options for children and young people to stay on the right track 

  • Developing prevention programs to tackle substance abuse amongst young people 
  • Examining initiatives that have had successful outcomes 
  • Investing in diversion programs within communities 

Karyn Cook – Chief Executive Officer, Ngwala Willumbong Aboriginal Corporation 


2:50 – Tackling the increasing number of children and young people involved in drugs and alcohol and its connection to youth suicide 

  • Discussing the growing numbers of drug and alcohol related issues 
  • Promoting positive choices for children and young people 
  • Monitoring the structure of the illicit drug markets and routes of supply 

Kayeleen Brown – Chief Executive Officer, Katungul Aboriginal Medical Service 

Damien Rotumah – Alcohol and other Drug Support Worker, Katungul Aboriginal Medical Service 

Kurt Simpson – Alcohol and other Drug Support Counceller, Katungul Aboriginal Medical Service 




3:2 Afternoon Refreshments and Mindfulness Activity 


Panel discussion 

3:5– Integrating prevention and early intervention models to help move away from the existing crisis driven system 

  • Exploring ways to provide services for the growing demand of mental health support 
  • Discussing pathways for children and young people who do not need extensive treatment 
  • Ensuring children and young people get the therapeutic and wellbeing support they need when it would make the most difference 

Nieves Murray – Chief Executive Officer, Suicide Prevention Australia 

Chris Giles – Chief Executive Officer, Kookaburra Kids Foundation 

Aaron Wallace – Chief Executive Officer, Njernda Aboriginal Corporation 


4:30 – How to make services more accessible for young people to get help when needed 

  • Understanding young people’s concerns about mental health and how to seek help 
  • Developing solutions to increase service flexibility and accessibility 
  • Ensuring access to mental health services irrespective of disadvantage 

James Toomey – Chief Executive Officer, Mission Australia  


5:00 PM – Closing remarks from the Chair and end of day one 

8:00 – Registration opens  


8:50 – Opening remarks from the Chair 

Gerry Georgatos, National Coordinator, National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project 


9:00 – Where to next after COVID-19? 

  • Discussing what we‘ve learnt during COVID-19 
  • Examining ways we can build on learning for the future 
  • Gearing up for a vision for change 

Anne Hollonds – National Children’s Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission  


Ministerial Address 

9:30 – The Australian government’s reform agenda to support children and young people   

The Hon David Coleman – Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Parliament of Australia 

*Virtual presentation 


Lived Experience Panel Discussion 

 9:50 – Discussing the value of people with lived experience to co-design and lead services 

  • Understanding view point and expertise of people with lived experience of mental illness or psychological distress  
  • How to encourage people with lived experiences to lead, take part in and encourage change  
  • Working with people with lived experience to tackle challenges within the current system 



10:30 – Morning Refreshments and Mindfulness Activity 


Increasing service integration, design and access 


Chair – Ross Jacobs – National Clinical Advisor, Canteen 



11:10 – Creating a focus on personal recovery not just “clinical recovery” 

  • How to center the focus on the symptoms to access the treatment outcome 
  • Ways to strengthen support for children and young people during treatment 
  • How to prevent children and young people from being re-traumatised  

Elvis Martin – Principal Ambassador, National Youth Commission Inquiry  



11:40 – Providing seamless integration, collaboration and delivery of services for Indigenous young people 

  • Understanding the ongoing cycle of trauma 
  • Looking into solution and outcomes of initiatives that have shown results 
  • Discussing how intergenerational trauma can create disadvantages in daily life functioning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people  

Dr Melanie Newton – Project Manager, Wungen Kartup Aboriginal Mental Health Service 




12:20 – Improving multidisciplinary assessment processes with resource-oriented music therapy assessment 

  • Identifying helpful and unhelpful approaches to assessment with young people experiencing severe and enduring mental health issues 
  • Considering alternative approaches to engagement and rapport-building in the early stages of treatment 
  • Integrating multidisciplinary assessment processes to prevent repetition and “therapy fatigue” in young people 

Kate Aitchison – Senior Music Therapist, Jacaranda Place Adolescent Extended Treatment Centre, Children’s Health Queensland  



1:00 – Networking Luncheon 


Case study 

2:00 – Discussing the challenges in psychological service provision for children and youth in remote areas  

  • Providing culturally appropriate interventions 
  • Collaborating with other services to manage risks together 
  • Thinking beyond our traditional boundaries 

Kelly Dhaemer – Clinical psychologist, Child and adolescent Mental health Services (CAMHS) Katherine 


Case study 

2:40 – Opt-out advocacy as a critical system safeguard for children and young people 

  • Discussing the human rights context of mental health legislation in Western Australia 
  • Understanding advocacy, supported decision-making and recovery – making sure children’s and young people’s voices are heard in their treatment, care and support 
  • How can we work with services to ensure that consumers’ get what they want  

Dr Sarah Pollock – Chief Mental Health Advocate, Mental Health Advocacy Service 

Developing prevention and early intervention models 


Chair – Gerry Georgatos, National Coordinator, National Suicide Prevention and Trauma Recovery Project  


11:00 – Demonstrating the benefits of collective action in achieving clear positive outcomes for youth mental health 

  • Exploring the power of the peer group to improve mental wellbeing for young people 
  • Empowering young people to navigate problems with a wellbeing toolkit 
  • Building a connect community through mutual help 

David Butt – National Chief Executive Officer, Grow Australia 



11:40 – Examining contemporary integrated psychosocial recovery models for young people 

  • Discussing youth outreach recovery service, getting them back on track and back to track with peer-led service 
  • Empowering young people to build skills including physical, cultural and sexual safety 
  • Discussing how clinical consultants specialises in working with young people  

Gill Callister – Chief Executive Officer, Mind Australia 


12:20 – Discussing solutions for positive outcomes from intergenerational trauma faced by the Indigenous community 

  • Understanding the ongoing cycle of trauma 
  • Looking into solution and outcomes of initiatives that have shown results 
  • Discussing how intergenerational trauma can create disadvantages in daily life functioning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 

Deborah Woods – Chief Executive Officer, Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service 



1:00 – Networking Luncheon 


2:00 – Connecting children and young people with identity, culture and country 

  • Discussing why connection to country and culture is so important for a young Indigenous person’s sense of belonging 
  • How to engage at-risk children and young people to improve their wellbeing and prevent suicides 
  • Discussing ways to support Indigenous children to make better life decisions 

Teresa Alice – Project ManagerAkeyulerre 



Case study 

2:40  Understanding the benefits of including parents, family and carers when working with a young person experiencing a mental health challenge 

  • Identifying who is important to the young person 
  • Introduction to the practical guide for working with carers of people with a mental illness and the six partnership standards 
  • How you can make the partnership work in practice 

Deborah Childs – Chief Executive Officer, HelpingMinds 





3:00  Afternoon Refreshments and Mindfulness Activity 


3:30 – Identifying why developmental and life cycle context matters in mental health system design and co-design  

  • Important differences in the ecosystems around infants, preschoolers, primary school, secondary school and post-school youth 
  • Setting strong foundations with related sectors to respond early and build capacity 
  • Crossing sector boundaries to create an integrated response for families keeping COVID-19 in mind 

Dr Leanne Beagley – Chief Executive Officer, Mental Health Australia 


4:00 – Youth mental health during a pandemic and being future-ready 

  • Providing demand management for increased youth counselling 
  • Discussing the transition of mental health services to be provided from home via remote services 
  • Understanding youth and comparison culture 

Arthur Papakotsias – Chief Executive Officer, Youth Focus  


4:30 – Closing remarks from the Chair and end of day two 


Workshop A: 

9:00 – 12:00 

Improving the wellbeing for healthcare workers and their teams during the times of COVID-19 


The Centre for Wellbeing and Sustainable Practice (CWSP) of the Royal Perth Bentley Group is a nationally recognised provider of wellbeing services and education for healthcare employees and organisations. Our model recognises the impact of healthcare workers’ life experiences and embedded belief systems on their wellbeing.  Our practice is anchored in reflective practice, acceptance of what is, creative response and cultivation of a deep sense of purpose. But individual wellbeing cannot be sustainable until the teams and organisations in which we work commit to the hard work of cultural transformation to embrace wellbeing as a lived value. Therefore, our model addresses team and organisational dynamics by encouraging and supporting interdisciplinary conversation and action across all levels of the organisation, including front-line clinicians, support staff, middle management and executive leaders.  


Attend this practical workshop and: 

  • Equipping your workforce to positively adapt to change, complexities and adversities 
  • Wellbeing for healthcare workers and their teams 
  • Discover practical, evidence-informed tools that you can use everyday   
  • Engage in group exploration of the branching points in your life as formative experiences which support or hinder your personal wellbeing   
  • Evaluate your experiences in groups and your capacity to foster or hinder the health of the groups in which you are a member 



Michael Hert – Certified Educator, Royal Perth Hospital 

Richard Read – Certified Educator, Royal Perth Hospital 


12:00 – Lunch 


Workshop B: 

1:00 – 4:00 

Examining the perceived and ‘real’ cultural barriers when engaging with people from ethnoculturally and linguistically diverse (ELD) backgrounds 

The concept of a mental health disorder can have a range of interpretations depending on the culture and/or the ethnic group within a given culture from which the person originates. The stigma towards seeking help, and culture-based expectations for how help is provided may be determined by many factors. This may include how frame of references are modified by experience through acculturative processes not only in young people but also the entire family unit. 

Attend this practical workshop and: 

  • Understand what needs to occur in implementing the transcultural process in a mental health context 
  • Discover the importance of self-reflective practice that goes beyond cultural competency and cultural awareness 
  • Acquire appropriate culturally-responsive communication skills that may help overcome stigma surrounding service engagement 
  • Examine the effects of acculturation, acculturative stress and intergenerational conflicts that may impact on the family unit and lead to mental health deterioration 
  • Discuss the strategies for promoting a barrier-free pathway towards positive service outcomes 



Andrea Creado – Co-Founder, CrossCultural Intellect 

Dr Bernadette Wright – Co-Founder, CrossCultural Intellect 


Early bird discount

Book now and save $500

Team discount 

Register 3-4 delegates and receive an additional 10% DISCOUNT off the current price
Register 5-7 delegates and receive an additional 15% DISCOUNT off the current price
Register 8 or more delegates and receive an additional 20% DISCOUNT off the current price

Countdown to
the Event


Sponsorship Opportunities

Events and experiences improve how audiences feel about brands. They also give you a strong push when it comes to driving sales. Over 90% of consumers feel positive about brands after participating in an event, while around 85% will likely buy from you.


Get in touch with us
Phone: +612 9247 6000

Contact Us

+61 02 9247 6000

Perth, Australia

In-Person & live-streamed

Follow this event