NSW Seminar Speaker Biographies

We have a great line up of guest speakers taking  part in the  Stop Male Suicide in NSW Seminar, in Sydney on 31st May 2016. To see the full program and find out how to register, click here now.


Tania Mahaluik MP

Ms Tania Mihailuk MP is Shadow Minister for Mental Health in NSW Legislative Assembly

Nic Newling, R U OK? Ambassador

Nic Newling is an outspoken advocate for mental health, suicide prevention, and sharing personal stories. Having lived through the experience of suffering with a mood disorder throughout high school and losing his brother to suicide, he has since dedicated himself to changing the way mental illness is addressed in schools, workplaces, and communities.

Find out more about Nic at www.nicnewling.com.

Craig Curtis, Suicide Prevention Trainer

Craig Curtis is a Suicide Prevention Trainer with lived experience of suicidal thoughts. In his personal life he has faced the challenge of a serious motorcycle accident in 2004 and the death of his wife in 2013. Having previously volunteered as a Lifeline telephone counsellor, Craig now works in South Western Sydney empowering and supporting people with chronic and persistent mental illness.

Tara Lal, Fire & Rescue NSW

Tara Lal is a firefighter and suicide prevention trainer who has managed the psychological wellbeing program in Fire & Rescue NSW. She is currently working with researchers at UNSW and the Black Dog Institute on a program aimed at developing resilience in firefighters. Tara recently published her first book ‘Standing on my Brother’s Shoulders – Making peace with Grief and Suicide’.

Find out more about Tara at www.fire.nsw.gov.au.

Carolyn Kelso, Case Manager/Field Officer, MATES in Construction (NSW)

Carolyn has worked for the suicide prevention charity, MATES in Construction (NSW) for three years, delivering suicide prevention training and case managing over 300 people. Carolyn has a Diploma in Community Services Work and a Bachelor of Social Sciences and is passionate about making a difference for communities through education and supporting people at risk.

Find out more about Mates In Construction here.

Peter Bell, Manager, Residence Life, Wagga Wagga and Albury/Wodonga, Charles Sturt University

Peter Bell has worked at Charles Sturt University (CSU) for 25 years, with a particular focus on the welfare and pastoral care of students living in halls of residence. There are over 2,200 students living in halls on CSU’s five campuses, and since 2007, Peter has been part of a drive to make the University’s communities, suicide safer.

Dr. David Jones, Army Chaplain, Royal Military College Duntroon

David is an ordained minister with more than 40 years experience in rural, regional and metropolitan churches. He has a doctoral degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary, part of the Graduate Theological Union at the University of California, Berkeley. He is a registered ASIST trainer, providing suicide intervention training for the military in the Canberra region.

Pete Nicholls, Board Member, Dads In Distress 

Pete Nicholls is a board member of the charity Dads In Distress (DIDS) and facilitates the DIDS group in Sydney CBD. DIDS objectives include providing support service for separated and raising awareness of male suicide, particularly where it relates to divorce and separation.

You can find out about Dads In Distress here.

Jane Massa, Sydney Local Health District

Jane is Coordinator Older People’s Suicide and Depression Prevention. She has an honours degree in psychology and runs “Suicide Prevention for Older People” training and the “Partners in Depression” course. Jane chairs the “Elderly Suicide Prevention Network” and is involved with a variety of Ministry of Health Working Groups.

Andrew Little, Deputy Executive Director at the National LGBTI Health Alliance

Andrew is a qualified social worker, with eight year’s experience on the frontline at Centrelink and over 25 year’s personal and professional experience working in the HIV sector, both in Australia and UK. More recently he has turned his focus to addressing the health issues facing our diverse LGBTI communities.

You can find out more about the National LGBTI Health Alliance here.

James Fowles, On The Line

James is a senior social worker with over 8 years’ experience in the mental health sector. James is the Senior Manager, Development and Innovation at On the Line (MensLine Australia, the Suicide Call Back Service, SuicideLine Victoria) and was responsible for pioneering on-demand multi-modal (telephone, online-chat and video) counselling, which is now offered across On the Line’s services including, MensLine Australia and those at risk of suicide on the Suicide Call Back Service, which is available 24/7.

You can find out more about MensLine here.

Paul McFarlane, Senior Chaplain, NSW Ambulance

Paul coordinates the work of 37 volunteer chaplains who support paramedics and community members following traumatic incidents.  Paul trains paramedics to build resilience and develop self-care strategies to maintain good mental health. He is also a passionate Ambassador for RUOK? Day.

You can find out more about RUOK? here.

Shayne Connell, LivingWorks Education

Shayne Connell is a Senior Training Coach with LivingWorks Education and has delivered suicide intervention training in Australia and overseas for 13 years. Shayne is a former Lifeline program manager and Men’s Health Network convenor and currently works for Cancer Council NSW.

Find out more about LivingWorks here.


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