The Board of Directors at Postvention Australia consists of some of Australia’s leading experts in suicide prevention and Postvention as well as bereaved representatives. Professor Ian Webster AO at the NSW Parliament House launched the organisation in June 2013.
Professor Diego de Leo (Chair) – Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention at Griffith University, Brisbane, which was designated as the National Centre of Excellence in Suicide Prevention in November 2008. At Griffith he also directs the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Suicide Prevention, and the Life Promotion Clinic, a research facility that represents the only outpatient service in Australia dealing exclusively with suicidal clients. Since 2001, he is the director of the Master Courses in Suicidology.
Emeritus Professor Ian Webster AO (Deputy Chair) – Physician and Emeritus Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine of the University of New South Wales and Patron of the Alcohol and other Drugs Council of Australia. He has held senior appointments in the Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales and had appointments at Monash, Sheffield and Sydney Universities. He was Chair of the Australian Suicide Prevention Advisory Council from 1998 to 2015 and is Chair of the Advisory Committee of the Centre for Primary Health Care and Equity, University of New South Wales, and immediate past President of the Governing Council of the Ted Noffs Foundation.
Alan Staines OAM OF (Envoy) (National Secretary) – The Founder and Director of Hope for Life, the Salvation Army’s Suicide Prevention Bereavement Support Services from 2006 up to June 2013. He was a driving force behind the establishment of the Salvation Army’s suicide bereavement services. Alan continues to serve as a Board Member of The Salvation Army’s Hope for Life national programs. For over 30 years Alan has played a pivotal role in the recognition and development of Postvention Services in Australia. Alan was responsible for convening the Inaugural Australian Postvention Conference in 2007 and subsequent Australian Postvention Conferences in 2009 and 2012 for the bereaved by suicide.
Joshua Fathers (Treasurer) – a Certified Practicing Accountant, Joshua has held senior financial positions in both the commercial and not-for-profit sectors. In the past, he worked for The George Institute for Global Health, an organisation carrying out public health research, and informing policy across the world. He currently works for Hammondcare, a large not-for-profit provider of health and aged care services, and is studying towards a Masters of Not-for-profit and Social enterprise management with the University of Technology, Sydney.
Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson (SCU) – identifies as a Jiman / Bundjalung (Aboriginal Australian) woman who also has Anglo-Celtic, and German heritage. With a PhD from QUT, her primary academic and research focus is in violence and relational trauma, and healing for Indigenous, and indeed all peoples. She developed the We Al-li program, used as a foundation stone for the Masters in Indigenous Studies (wellbeing); the undergraduate degree Trauma and Healing, and the Diploma of Community Recovery.
Estelle Dragun – Mother of Charmaine Dragun who tragically took her life in November 2007. Estelle is a member of the Australian Ministerial Council for Suicide Prevention in Western Australia and has spent a great deal of time trying to bring about awareness and understanding of suicide, talking to schools and other community bodies. Since her daughters passing she has been committed to stamping out the stigma associated with mental illness and making all people realise that mental health and wellbeing is just as important as physical health and wellbeing.
Cindy Mills – Lost her 17-year-old daughter Victoria to suicide in 2006. Completely unexpected, Victoria’s death sparked a torrent of questions, sending Cindy on a landslide of guilt, self-blame, anger, confusion and profound grief that made her also feel vulnerable to suicide. Soon after the tragedy she received intensive counselling and participated in a suicide support group run by Dr Diana Sands and the Salvation Army, which she attributes to her strong recovery. Since that time, she has worked with the Salvation Army to promote their suicide related services, in particular bereavement services. Cindy is a founding member of Wings of Hope, a harm prevention charity established in 2007 that provides education, resources and support events for people bereaved by suicide.
Lyndall Stafford – Has been a psychologist for 14 years and has been facilitating suicide postvention groups in Brisbane with Lifeline, which is partnered with UnitingCare Community, for 10 years. She also works with individual clients and has worked in a number of settings including the public mental health system. Presently her work life is divided between her postvention groups and working at headspace Capalaba. Her interests lie in the areas of postvention, psychotic and dissociative disorders and trauma.
Lukus Williams – Lukas (Green) Williams of the Bundjalung Nation was born and raised on the Tweed Heads river, and is living on Hermannsburg community in Northern Territory, 200km west of Alice Springs. There Lukas works to address Social Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) needs for Aboriginal people. Lukas has been acknowledged and published for his hard work in helping to establishing the Ballina men’s group and leading the White Ribbon day in 2015. Lukas currently sits on the board for the Remote Alcohol & Other Drugs Workforce Program which runs right across the NT, from Tiwi Islands to Alice Springs, covering all remote areas.
Jill Fisher – Internationally recognised for her work in the areas of suicide prevention, postvention and mental health. Jill has a special interest in the areas of crisis and traumatic loss & grief. Her media background and professional experience in research and national community development has further enhanced her skills in establishing integrated community responses to traumatic events. Jill Fisher’s most recent role was as the National Coordinator for the StandBy Response Service based at United Synergies Ltd. on Australia’s Sunshine Coast, overseeing the development and implementation of the StandBy model to several Australian sites.
Gary Parsisson, CEO (Ex Officio Member) – Gary lost his son Joshua to suicide in 2000 and as such has a strong understanding of the issues surrounding bereavement by suicide. Gary has a long career history in the Banking and Financial Service industry in a variety of senior executive roles as well as consulting. Gary has agreed to take on the role as Chief Executive Officer and will bring to the role years of volunteering experience across various sectors in the community as well as his fundraising experience gained in his current position in the Salvation Army.