What is it about mental health and wellbeing that seem to trigger polarising responses in us? Why is it a taboo subject? Why is there a stigma attached to the issue? Depression, burnout, resilience, mindfulness are examples of terms that are often used, misused and abused in these discussions. Can we rethink these issues? (Eric Levi – ENT Surgeon)

From 10 – 13 September, Northern Health will be holding a week of ‘Conversations on Mental Wellness’ as part of our Psychological Wellbeing Strategy.

It focuses on three main areas; protection, prevention and intervention, as an initiative to protect the mental health of Northern Health staff, promote wellbeing, and intervene to address mental health concerns.

World Suicide Prevention Day will mark the start of the program on Monday 10 September, with Layne Stretton from Roses in the Ocean speaking about the impact suicide can have on families and communities, and the signs to look out for.

Speakers and sessions will run until R U OK? Day to close the program on Thursday 13 September and feature Eric Levi – ENT Surgeon, Sonia Gangi  from beyondblue and Jo Gibbs from Treat Healthcare .

‘Conversations on Mental Wellness’ showcases Northern Health’s commitment to a psychologically safe workplace, and provide tangible steps towards a number of actions, including raising awareness, combating stigma, suicide prevention and promoting positive mental health.


Monday 10 September

James Malachi – RUOK? Ambassador  2pm, Northern Health Bundoora, Conference Room

“Staying connected and having meaningful conversations is something we can all do. You don’t need to be an expert – just a good friend and a great listener. So, if you notice someone who might be struggling – start a conversation!”

By profession, a Funeral Director, James also supports R U OK?  reminding people that having meaningful conversations with mates and loved ones could save lives. James will aim to boost our confidence to meaningfully connect and ask about life’s ups and down, nurture our sense of responsibility to regularly connect and support others.


Layne Stretton –Roses in the Ocean, 2pm , NCHER Lecture Theatre

“We need to talk about mental health and not pretend that our behaviours and that of the wider business don’t have an impact on the individual. They do. At Roses in the Ocean, we believe that the more we open up about the ‘lived experience’ that we have in this area, the more we give permission and empowerment for others to use their voices. “

Layne will look at the impact that suicide can have on families, communities and individuals. He will do so through the lens of personal experiences, talking about his reactions over a 15 year period after his brother’s death, culminating in getting the help and support that he needed. Layne will discuss the importance of recognition of what is happening to us, the signs to look out for and what you can do to take care of yourself.

Pastoral Care: Northern Health Bundoora

10 am -12 pm (CBW Multipurpose room)

1 pm -3 pm (CBW Multipurpose room)

5 Ways to Wellbeing: Broadmeadows Hospital

2 pm – 3 pm- Clinical Education Room

Tuesday 11 September

Pastoral Care: Broadmeadows Hospital

11.00 – 1.30 pm Meeting Room 1 & 2,  (This is an open session.)

Yoga session: Northern Hospital Epping

4 pm-4.45 pm     NCHER Level 3

Wednesday 12 September

Mental health through participating in creating a healthy workplace: Northern Hospital Epping

2.00 pm – 3.00 pm NCHER Level 3

Thursday 13 September

Eric Levi – ENT Surgeon,  8am, NCHER Lecture Theatre

Eric is an Ear Nose & Throat Head & Neck Surgeon and is a Consultant Surgeon at The Royal Children’s Hospital, St. Vincent’s Hospital and Ear Nose & Throat Victoria. Outside of his relentless passion for the Ear, Nose, Throat, Head & Neck, Eric just wants to see humanity back in the health care industry.



Sonia Gangi – beyondblue, 2pm, NCHER Lecture Theatre

“Creating a mentally healthy workplace is everyone’s responsibility and it starts with individuals building a positive culture where everyone feels supported and able to do their best work. “

Sonia Gangi is a Registered Nurse working in the Victorian public health sector, with over ten years of nursing experience. Sonia is a volunteer speaker for beyondblue, a national organisation that works to raise awareness about anxiety and depression, reduce the associated stigma and encourage people to get help. She became a beyondblue speaker to share her lived experience of anxiety and encourage others to open up the conversation about mental health conditions in their workplace, family and friendship groups.



Jo Gibbs – Treat Healthcare , 2pm, NCHER Lecture Theatre

“A mentally healthy workplace is a place where you can see authentic smiles and hear laughter in the corridors. A place where staff feel like they belong and look out for each other.” 

Jo has a lifelong career in healthcare. In response to returning to university and hospitals in 2014, Jo developed ‘Treat’, a mindfulness-based self-care and recovery program for health care professionals that has successfully run at Alfred Health. In 2017, Treat was nominated Finalist in the Minister for Health’s Award for improving workforce wellbeing and safety. Jo’s presentation will address what self -awareness and self-care is and how it can be incorporated into a busy day.

Yoga session: Northern Hospital Epping

7.30 am -8.15 am     NCHER Level 3

Pastoral Care: Northern Hospital Epping

10 am – 12 noon NCHER Level 3

1 pm-3 pm NCHER Level 3

R U OK Day: bring a plate (gold coin donation)
Department based all-day event.

Mental health through participating in creating a healthy workplace: Northern Health Bundoora

2pm – 3pm Conference Room

To find out more about our speakers click here.