World Mental Health Day 2020 – panel discussion

ANU Wellbeing will host a panel discussion to raise awareness for World Mental Health Day and help continue to break down barriers and stigma often associated with seeking support.

This year's focus will be on mental health and the challenges, resilience and growth that have been experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Joining us virtually, ANU alumna Thérèse Rein will deliver an address on training for positive well-being in times of enormous change, followed by a panel discussion with ANU staff to further discuss these issues, with the understanding that everyone is impacted differently. 

ANU Counselling will also be participating in this session and will be available to answer questions about the support services for staff and students, as well as some tips to support your own mental health and wellbeing.

This panel discussion may include the topic of suicide prevention. There will be support services and safe rooms available for those attending in person. 

Our panellists include:

Professor Tracy Smart AO, Air Vice-Marshal (Ret.) and Public Health Lead, COVID-19 Response Office, ANU

Tracy Smart is a professor, physician, health leader, and retired Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) senior officer. During 35 years of service she served in tactical, operational and strategic roles in the RAAF and broader Australian Defence Force (ADF), participated in overseas deployments, and served as Surgeon General of the ADF from 2015 to 2019. She transferred to the RAAF Reserve in early 2020.

In May, she commenced as Professor, Military and Aerospace Medicine at The Australian National University and took on the additional role of Public Health Lead - COVID-19 Response Office in August. Professor Smart is a strong believer in the concept of 'post traumatic growth' as a result of her lived experience in the ADF. She has previously been a member of the Prime Minister's Advisory Council on Veterans' Mental Health and the Board of Phoenix Australia Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health. She is currently a member of the AFL's Mental Health Steering Group.

Andrew Staniforth,  Clinical Psychologist and Head of ANU Counselling

Andrew graduated from ANU in the Clinical Psychology program.  He is a Clinical Psychologist and Head, ANU Counselling. He has extensive experience in providing psychotherapeutic interventions to clients in public mental health, private practice and the tertiary counselling sector.  

Andrew is focused upon providing an excellent student counselling experience, especially as 2020 has required us all to readjust and find ways to grow through adversity.  Andrew enjoys working collaboratively with clients seeking to think about and make sense of their experience and how this impacts upon the way the client wishes to function.

Dr Lou Farrer

Dr Lou Farrer is a Senior Research Fellow and Psychologist at the Centre for Mental Health Research at The Australian National University. She holds an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award to examine how digital mental health programs and other technologies are used in clinical practice. Dr Farrer has developed and evaluated several online mental health programs, and her research examines models of disseminating and implementing these tools in different settings. Her recent work has focused on mental health in tertiary education settings, and the impact of COVID-19 on community mental health and the uptake of telehealth in mental health services.


More information

This event will be delivered as a virtual/in-person hybrid. Due to social distancing requirements, only a small number of staff and students will be permitted to join on-campus. This event will be live-streamed to allow other community members to participate.

Live link will be provided closer to the time. Details of location will be emailed to participants who opt to attend in person.