ANU75: World Mental Health Day panel discussion

8 Oct 2021

Join our experts this World Mental Health Day, as we raise awareness on isolation and the importance of connectedness.


World Mental Health Day aims to raise awareness of mental health challenges and to support efforts to address these challenges. Talking about mental health breaks down the barriers and stigma often associated with seeking support.

To raise awareness of World Mental Health Day and celebrate the University’s 75th Anniversary, this panel discussion will focus on practical ways to improve mental health, including ways to ease loneliness and create connections within our community. We hope this discussion will include ways that we as individuals can cope in the current context, but also ways in which Australia might best respond to emerging mental health challenges.

We need to cope with an uncertain future in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with changes to our preferred daily routines and with less physical and social contact. Needing to be adaptive and resilient over a long period can take a toll. Fortunately, there are steps individuals can take to look after their mental health. We can also come together as a community to help others who need extra support and care.

This year our panel consists of – Dr Hugh Mackay AO, Associate Professor Tegan Cruwys, Dr Amelia Gulliver, Dr Leanne Beagley, and Emeritus Professor Andrew Markus. The session will be moderated by Michelle Linmore from ANU Counselling.

The event is in partnership with Mental Health Australia.

Panellist bios

Dr Leanne Beagley has been the Chief Executive Officer at Mental Health Australia since April 2020. Her background includes clinical qualifications in Occupational Therapy and Family Therapy, as well as a Masters of Business Leadership and a PhD in Psychology in organisational culture and performance. Leanne has over 15 years’ experience in direct mental health care in clinical settings in Melbourne. Additionally, Leanne is currently completing her masters in law at the ANU College of Law as a part-time student.

Tegan Cruwys is an Associate Professor and Clinical Psychologist at The Australian National University. Her research focuses on how social relationships shape mental health and specifically focuses on advancing theoretical understanding of the social determinants of health, and with translational impact that improves outcomes for marginalised communities. With over 100 academic publications, she has made internationally recognised research contributions to the study of loneliness, depression, eating behaviour, social identity, group psychotherapy, and health risk taking.

Dr Amelia Gulliver is a research fellow at the Centre for Mental Health Research, Research School of Population Health, The Australian National University. Her research focuses on finding practical solutions to improve mental health in key at-risk population groups. Dr Gulliver’s primary research interests include mental health lived experience research, help-seeking in young people, and the development, evaluation, and implementation of technology-based mental health programs.

Dr Hugh Mackay AO is a social psychologist, researcher, and the bestselling author of 22 books. He has had a 60-year career in social research, and was also a weekly newspaper columnist for over 25 years. He is currently an honorary professor in the Research School of Psychology at ANU, and a patron of the Asylum Seekers Centre. Hugh is a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and the Royal Society of NSW. In recognition of his pioneering work in social research, he has been awarded honorary doctorates by Charles Sturt, Macquarie, NSW, Western Sydney and Wollongong universities. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2015.

Andrew Markus is Emeritus Professor in Monash University’s Faculty of Arts. In 2004 has was elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. His research specialisation is in the field of racial and ethnic relations, ethnic communities, and immigration policy. Andrew has extensive experience researching Australian public opinion. In an Australian first, he is tracking changes in Australian attitudes in the annual Scanlon Foundation national social cohesion survey, which was first conducted in 2007.

Michelle Linmore (Chair) is a psychologist with more than 20 years of experience providing counselling, support groups and psychoeducation for individuals and couples. She has worked in private practice, community agencies, universities and government settings and in each setting enjoys supporting clients to create changes they want in their lives. Michelle has a particular interest in supporting positive connections and relationships. Over the last couple of years she has facilitated the ANU Counselling “Social connections” group as well as the “Connecting together online” group -aiming to reduce isolation and increase social confidence for participants. Michelle is focused on providing an excellent counselling experience for students of ANU, especially given the continuing challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting impacts on mental health.

This is an online event and webinar details will be provided on registration.

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