Explorations Series: Yindyamarra Talks - COVID: Mental health matters

Start: 30 Sep 2021 10:00 am
End: 30 Sep 2021 11:00 am

In a world of fear and misinformation, Charles Sturt University brings together an expert panel to break down the issues for First Nations People.

As well as being vulnerable to the effects of Covid 19, First Nations people are dealing with the impact on mental health. As a whole, First Nations people already experience high rates of depression, anxiety and youth suicide. This public forum will bring together health experts and draw on the expertise of Charles Sturt University to answer your questions about mental health. We will provide practical advice and explore ways that Indigenous health services can treat and can protect our people. Mental health is part of our total well being and cannot be separated from a history of invasion colonisation and racism. The representation of First Nations people by media often exacerbates the issue. What responsibilities do we all have to achieve better outcomes for the nation’s most vulnerable populations? Bring your questions and together we will find answers.

Please join Professor Stan Grant Jr and expert panel members in a one hour public forum where we will answer your questions about COVID and the mental health impacts to Australia’s First Nations People.

The panel will consist of Professor Stan Grant, Professor Juanita Sherwood, Dr Neil Philips, Fiona Cornforth, Professor Pat Dudgeon and Associate Professor Faye McMillan.

Professor Stan Grant

Vice Chancellor's Chair of Australian/Indigenous Belonging
Charles Sturt University

stan grant

Professor Stan Grant is the Vice Chancellor's Chair of Australian/Indigenous Belonging at Charles Sturt University. He is also the Global Affairs and Indigenous Affairs Analyst for the ABC.

He is one of Australia's most respected and awarded journalists, with more than 30 years’ experience in radio and television news and current affairs. Stan has a strong reputation for independence and integrity and has interviewed international political and business leaders, including our own prime ministers and senior ministers.

Prior to taking up his latest role Stan served for a decade at a Senior International Correspondent for CNN in Asia and the Middle East, broadcasting to an audience of millions around the world.

He has interviewed numerous world leaders including Nelson Mandela, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Condoleezza Rice, Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, Shimon Peres, Bill Clinton, and Australian Prime Ministers Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott, and Malcolm Turnbull.

Stan has won numerous international and Australian awards including a Peabody Award, Columbia University Alfred I. duPont award, four times winner of the prestigious Asia TV awards including best news story and reporter of the year, twice winner of the coveted Australian Walkley Award, as well as a TV Logie award, GQ Magazine agenda setter of the year and an Australian Academy of Arts Cinema and Television Award (Australia's Oscars) as male TV presenter of the year.

Stan is an award winning and best selling author of several books and has contributed articles to many major Australian newspapers, magazines and journals.

Professor Juanita Sherwood

Pro Vice-Chancellor First Nations Engagement
Charles Sturt University

Juanita Sherwood

Professor Juanita Sherwood is a proud First Nations woman with Wiradjuri, Murri, Maori and Anglo-Celtic lineages. Her mother’s grandfather was born in Wagga Wagga and her family is connected to Country from Jerilderie through to Yass.

Prof Sherwood is Pro Vice-Chancellor First Nations Engagement at Charles Sturt University. She has been a nurse, teacher, lecturer, and researcher for over 35 years. Her work has changed health and education outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children across the nation. This includes increasing the uptake of Indigenous-centred research and decolonisation methods in Australia, and recognising colonisation as the primary determinant of Indigenous health, as well as being a strong proponent of cultural safety.

Currently she is involved in several large NHMRC funded projects, including the ‘Birthing on Country’ (BoC) and ‘Strengthening systems for Indigenous healthcare Equity’ (STRIDE) Centres for Research Excellence, ‘Decolonising Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care’ project, and the new nationally funded $10 million NHMRC National First Nations Research Network to build Indigenous Research Capacity.

Prof Sherwood is a CATSINaM Founding Member, member of the Elders Advisory Council, Board Director and Muliyan Founding member.

Fiona Cornforth

Chief Executive Officer
The Healing Foundation

Fiona Cornforth

Fiona Cornforth is a Wuthathi (Shelburne Bay) descendant with family roots in the Torres Straits.

Fiona has an extensive background working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities. Fiona is a Masters Graduate of ANU’s College of Business and Economics, and an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy of the UK. Holding past senior roles in community and government organisations, she utilised her global experience in education, leadership and business development to raise awareness around the impacts of intergenerational trauma.

Professor Pat Dudgeon

Director of the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention
University of Western Australia

Pat Dungeon

Pat Dudgeon is from the Bardi people in Western Australia. She is a psychologist and professor at the Poche Centre for Aboriginal Health and the School of Indigenous Studies at UWA. Her area of research includes Indigenous social and emotional wellbeing and suicide prevention.

She is the director of the Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention at UWA. She is also the lead chief investigator of a national research project, Transforming Indigenous Mental Health and Wellbeing that aims to develop approaches to Indigenous mental health services that promote cultural values and strengths as well as empowering users. She has many publications in Indigenous mental health, in particular, the Working Together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and Wellbeing Principals and Practice 2014.

Associate Professor Faye McMillan

Associate Professor Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health: School of Population Health UNSW
Deputy National Rural Health Commissioner

Faye McMillian

Associate Professor Faye McMillan is one of two Deputy National Rural Health Commissioners, playing a key role in the Federal Government’s agenda to increase access to rural health services and address rural workforce shortages. She joined the UNSW School of Population Health this year as A/Prof in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and has had an extensive career in allied health in regional and rural NSW. She is a Wiradjuri yinaa (woman) originally from Trangie, NSW. She joins the School from Charles Sturt University, where she was Director of the Djirruwang Program - Bachelor of Health Science (Mental Health).

Associate Professor Faye McMillan has received numerous accolades for her leadership and contribution to population health, education, equity and the community.  In 2021 Associate Professor McMillan was appointed as a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday 2021 Honours List. Professor McMillan’s appointment recognises her significant service to Indigenous mental health, and to tertiary education and in 2019 was named the NSW Aboriginal Woman of the year. She holds a Doctor of Health Science, Master of Indigenous Health Bachelor of Pharmacy, Graduate Certificate Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage, Graduate Certificate Indigenous Governance, and Graduate Certificate in Education.

She is also the first registered Aboriginal pharmacist, a founding member of Indigenous Allied Health Australia and holds a variety of board positions with various companies and associations.

Dr Neil Phillips


Neil Phillips

Dr. Neil Phillips is a consultant psychiatrist who works in rural and remote community mental health. He is also an active communicator about mental health, mental illness and relationship issues through regular contributions to the popular Sydney ABC Radio 702 Drive show.



First Nations Fact Sheet: Social & Emotional Wellbeing

External Links

Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health


Gayaa Dhuwi Australia

Black Dog Institute - iBobbly

Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention

Clearing House

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