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Australian Rotary Health Districts of Australia





Chairman’s Report Board changes At our Board meeting in February, history was made when three new Rotarians joined as ARH Directors, extending the number from 9 to 12. The Australian Governors, Governors Elect and Governors Nominee wished to see first-hand the work we are doing. Following the 2019 Regional Gregory Ross Conference in Christchurch, one from each year was elected and, without breaching any Board confidences, they will now report to their year groups and keep them up-to-date with the work being done at Australian Rotary Health. We now welcome for the first time a serving District Governor, Michael Buckeridge from Queensland, District Governor Elect David Jones from South Australia and District Governor Nominee Kay Phipps from Western Australia. The new Board can be seen in the 2020 Facts booklet which I commend to you. It is now available and, apart from funding, research, donation and program details, Professor Jane Pirkis remains Chair of the ARH Research Committee and CEO Joy Gillett OAM leads her excellent team. Our professional staff numbers are only five now that Terry Davies, Corporate Manager for many years, has retired. I have passed on the thanks of the Board and wished him many happy years of ‘freedom.’ Research remains strong From seed funding for young researchers through to the implementation of their research, we have success stories aplenty. Our online newsletter continues to highlight and update research work being funded by ARH. We have heard a good deal about the impact of teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA), a peer support program in secondary schools developed by researchers Dr Laura Hart and Dr Claire Kelly, following an ARH Mental Health Research Grant in 2014. The fact that Lady Gaga through her Born This Way Foundation (BTWF) has adopted tMHFA and is actively promoting it in the U.S has given the program great publicity. Teen Mental Health First Aid joins the highly successful Mental Health First Aid training course for adults, which initially also received multiple grants from ARH. Betty Kitchener AM and Professor Tony Jorm created MHFA and over 800,000 people have now been trained in Australia and more than three million internationally.

Dr Laura Hart speaking at the SMHR conference, after receiving her award

In late November it was my privilege to present Laura with the Australian Rotary Health Mental Health Impact Award for 2019 at the Society for Mental Health Research (SMHR) conference. Corporate partnerships We continue to seek businesses that believe in the mental health research we are doing and wish to partner with us. One company which has now committed to raise awareness of our Lift the Lid on Mental Illness campaign is QBD Books. Through negotiations with Kara Geyer and Sue Perry at The Media Hut, our PR advisers, QBD has undertaken to cover the costs of producing 1,000 posters and 500,000 hats. These will be distributed in schools holding a Lift the Lid day. Students will donate $2 per hat and will in turn get a discount from QBD when buying books online or in store. Thank you to QBD for getting involved. We hope soon to welcome more like-minded organisations which will help fund more research and, in turn, spread the importance of building better mental health in our Australian community. Indigenous ‘plus four’ Our Indigenous Health Scholarship program continues most successfully. Importantly, the worth of our Indigenous involvement, managed so effectively by Cheryl Deguara, has now been further recognised by the federal government. Instead of us having to apply for funding each year, the government has now given ARH a four year commitment. This is a ringing endorsement of the quality of our Indigenous scholar program. Bushfires, Drought, Floods Fair dinkum, from one extreme to the other, many farming and rural Continued page 2

Australian Rotary Health • PO Box 3455 Parramatta NSW 2124 • Phone 02 8837 1900 • admin@arh.org.au


Chairman’s Report

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communities are being challenged. The effects of extensive bushfires in many parts of Australia over recent months have seen Rotary clubs and the general community all wanting to help. Much money has been raised, families visited and personal support given face to face. Hadleigh Fischer, a young Australian currently living in Basel, Switzerland, met with me in 2018 wanting to support ARH. He has created Resilience Agenda, a small company with a vision for people to think about their mental fitness as they do for their physical fitness. He sent me a 2020 Resilience Agenda diary, attended our February Board meeting and then donated $10,000 to ARH. Hadleigh intends to continue supporting ARH on an

annual basis and, before he left, donated 500 diaries to be used in bushfire and drought affected areas. These have now been delivered and distributed widely. The young researchers we are funding through Australian Rotary Health, and certainly those university personnel with whom they are studying, are fulsome in their support of our commitment to create better mental health and our desire to find cures for mental illness in the future. Together, we will make a positive difference to the future health of Australians, and to people globally. Now that I’m in the last stage of my chairmanship, my observation that Australian Rotary Health is a great Australian Rotary project has only increased. And the fact that we can give 100% of our donations to our research programs is very special; indeed we often give more. That is possible because those business Rotarians who drove ARH in its early days decided to create and build a corpus. From this the interest earned now covers the costs of running the organisation. We are blessed to have wonderful volunteers but it is the ongoing support from our Rotary base that will ensure we continue to be a leader in mental illness research.

Goodbye Terry If you have visited the Australian Rotary Health office recently, you may have noticed one smiling face missing! In the time that Corporate Manager Terry Davies was part of the ARH team, he definitely brought in a sense of enthusiasm and passion to everything he did. But in December last year, it was time for Terry to start a new chapter and move into a life of retirement. Terry worked at Australian Rotary Health for 10 years and had several great achievements – the organisation of the Great Australian Bike Ride, numerous golf days, and other events that raised valuable dollars for ARH.

Wishing you good health. Resilience Agenda’s Hadleigh Fischer (middle) with ARH CEO Joy Gillett (left) and ARH Chairman Gregory Ross (right)

Gregory Ross, ARH Chairman

Thank you, Terry, you have left a great legacy. We wish you all the best in this next chapter.

Introducing Our Four New Directors

We would like to warmly welcome some new faces to the Australian Rotary Health Board of Directors – DG Michael Buckeridge, PP Roger Crawfoot (replacing PDG Des Lawson), DGN Kay Phipps, and DGE David Jones. We look forward to working with all of you as we continue


our mission to improve the health and wellbeing of all Australians. “My family along with most families in Australia has been affected by those living with mental illness. I have long struggled with what I can do to assist. Not any longer,

I can use the power of Rotary. Rotary can fix really big problems, eradicate Polio, find a cure for Malaria, eliminate Mental Illness. That is why I am so proud to be a member of the board and supporter of Australian Rotary Health.” DG Michael Buckeridge

Australian Rotary Health • PO Box 3455 Parramatta NSW 2124 • Phone 02 8837 1900 • www.australianrotaryhealth.org.au


Partnership with QBD Books Australian Rotary Health is very excited to announce a new partnership with QBD Books for our Lift the Lid on Mental Illness campaign. have youth involved in our Lift the Lid campaign.

Together, we are bringing Lift the Lid to schools, encouraging each school to donate up to $1,000 towards mental health research. For every $2 donation, each child will receive a $2 discount voucher off a selection of books at their local QBD bookstore. This way we can also encourage the joy of reading in our young ones! “We are thrilled to partner with Australian Rotary Health to support young Australians and help Lift the Lid on Mental Illness,” said QBD Books CEO Nicholas Croydon.

“1 in 5 Aussies are affected by a mental illness every year, but it's not something we tend to talk about. These illnesses include anxiety, depression, eating disorders, schizophrenia and many more. This is why it's so important that we Lift the Lid on Mental Illness.” Australian Rotary Health CEO Joy Gillett said this will be a wonderful opportunity to

“Mental illness can begin in children as young as four years old, which is why we have chosen to focus on mental illness prevention and early intervention in the research that we fund,” Ms Gillett said. “We are very much looking forward to working with QBD Books to spread the message of the importance of improving mental health, especially in children and adolescents.” To find out more or get your school involved, visit www.hatday.com.au

Rotary Supporting ARH

Australian Rotary Health (ARH) Director Jane Cox recently visited the Rotary Club of Torquay (VIC) and received a cheque of $4,000 for ARH research. This donation will go towards one of our current mental health research grant projects by Dr Kylie King called “Testing the Impact of 'Breaking the Man Code' workshops on teenage boys' help-seeking, masculinity and suicide risk factors: A cluster randomised controlled trial.” In February 2020, the Rotary Club of South Bunbury presented a cheque of $18,000 to District Australian Rotary Health Representative David Honeychurch to go towards mental health research. This money was raised from the Dirt N Dust Run event last year and they plan to raise even more in this year’s event later in October.

The aim of this project is to determine whether Tomorrow Man’s “Breaking the Man Code” workshops have positive impact on young men’s likelihood of seeking help for personal and emotional problems, likelihood of recommending that others seek help, perceived social support, conformity to harmful masculine norms, and depression.

We thank them for their continuous support.

We thank the Rotary Club of Torquay for their support.

Australian Rotary Health • PO Box 3455 Parramatta NSW 2124 • Phone 02 8837 1900 • www.australianrotaryhealth.org.au



Where are they now? We love hearing the achievements of our former PhD scholars as they progress in their career. Dr Jasmina Markulic was awarded an Australian Rotary Health Funding Partner PhD Scholarship (co-funded by Rotary District 9650 and St Vincent’s Medical Research Institute) from 20162019, for her research into Parkinson’s Disease. During the write-up process of her PhD, Jasmina flew to Inverell, a large town in Northern New South Wales, to talk about her journey on how she became a scientist, what it takes to complete a PhD, and the work she had done on Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease. Her hope was that she could inspire students with an interest in science to pursue their dreams. This trip was also an opportunity to visit two Rotary Clubs in Inverell, who played a role in raising the money for her scholarship. It all started when Sue Moran wanted to raise funds for an Australian Rotary Health PhD scholarship. In 2014-2015 while her husband Greg was a District Governor, they approached Rotary Clubs around the district to encourage their contribution. "We raised enough money and I worked closely with Australian Rotary Health in that time. They informed me that after advertising nation-wide Jasmina had applied and was successful," Sue said. Jasmina said the three-year Australian Rotary Health scholarship was a critical element that allowed her to achieve a PhD goal. She has also had three opportunities to attend week-long international conferences. "One was in the US, UK and Portugal. It was all Alzheimer's and Parkinson's related and I got to meet other people in the same field, network and create future career possibilities," Jasmina told the Inverell times.

L-R: Yash Seagrott, Jasmina Markulic, Sue Moran and Milly Sutherland. Photo from the Inverell Times

“Australian Government PhD Scholarships are so hard to come by and they're reducing the amount of scholarships they're giving out, so having philanthropic groups supporting PhD students is so important,” Jasmina said. "For every dollar invested into the field, there is a $4 return to the economy which is incredible in terms of the impact it has and jobs it creates. Also, who doesn't want a healthier society? "In basic biology from discovery of a target for disease to actually getting a drug to market takes 12-24 years and costs almost $1 billion because clinical trials are so expensive. It is also very difficult, it's all about persistence and resilience." Your support of research is so important for researchers like Jasmina. Donate today: www.australianrotaryhealth.org.au

One of Jasmina’s passions now is to advocate for the continued support of medical research.

Indigenous Health Scholarship Spotlight: Kimberley Green “The statistics surrounding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are alarming. The current rate of suicide, especially for young Indigenous men is one of the highest in the world. The prevalent use of alcohol and drugs in Indigenous communities is a contributor to the high rates of suicide and mental health issues experienced by Indigenous people. “By becoming a qualified Aboriginal Mental Health Clinician, I can do my part in closing the gap between my local Goulburn community accessing Aborigianl specific services, and helping to maintain the Aboriginal Workforce numbers, as Goulburn is not a high populated Aboriginal community but Goulburn is severely under sourced in terms of Aboriginal specific


services and staff. My nursing and Aboriginal Health Worker background ensures I can use my extensive knowledge to provide a holistic approach to Mental Health, not just a clinical medical model approach.” Kimberley is studying a Bachelor of Nursing at Charles Sturt University, NSW, and is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Sutherland, NSW.

Photo Credit: The Inverell Times

Participate in ARH Funded Research

Australian Rotary Health Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Katrina Prior is looking for participants aged 18-25 years old to provide feedback on a new cognitive training program for anxiety and alcohol use. Complete the survey here: https://retrainyourbrainonline.com/

Australian Rotary Health • PO Box 3455 Parramatta NSW 2124 • Phone 02 8837 1900 • www.australianrotaryhealth.org.au


Mental Health Research Study Results Dr Mark Boyes from Curtin University (WA) was awarded an Australian Rotary Health Mental Health Research Grant in 2018, with support from the Stan Perron Foundation, to pilot trial a mental health program for children with dyslexia. This program, which was developed by the Dyslexia-SPELD Foundation (DSF), is called the ‘Clever Kids Program’. Forty children with dyslexia were recruited to the trial, with twenty attending the Clever Kids program, and the other twenty in the control group. Here is what Dr Boyes found: • The Clever Kids program clearly reduces the use of unhelpful coping strategies among children with dyslexia. • The Clever Kids program also appears to improve self-esteem and reduce emotional and peer problems among children with dyslexia, although a bigger study is needed to test this further.

• Children with dyslexia liked the Clever Kids program and thought it was useful. • There is clear parent demand for programs addressing the emotional health of children with dyslexia and evaluating the Clever Kids program in a bigger project is feasible. DSF have identified this as a growing area of need and there was no difficulty recruiting families into the project. “While the improvements in self-esteem and reductions in emotional difficulties and peer problems are very promising, these improvements were substantially smaller than the changes in coping skills, and we really need a larger study to be confident in the results. The lessons learned from conducting this pilot study indicate that a bigger evaluation of the Clever Kids program is feasible, and we are delighted to have secured funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council to conduct a larger trial of the program,” Dr Boyes said.

Dr Louise Mewton from the University of New South Wales was awarded an Australian Rotary Health Bruce Edwards Postdoctoral Fellowship from 2015-2018 to test whether strengthening frontal areas of the brain using online ‘brain games’ would reduce the risk of a young person developing a mental illness. 228 people between 16-24 years were recruited to the study, with half completing a brain training program that focussed on strengthening frontal areas of the brain, and the other half completing a brain training program that strengthened other parts of the brain that were not associated with mental illness. These young people completed questionnaires before and after the brain training program. Here were some of the key take aways from Dr Mewton’s study: • This was the largest study internationally to investigate whether brain training is effective for preventing mental illness. • Brain games are capable of

We congratulate Dr Boyes on his study results. This is one example of how Australian Rotary Health funds smaller projects that would not typically be funded and provides the opportunity for this research to be recognised by larger funding bodies. Help us give other studies the starting ground they need to make a difference: www.australianrotaryhealth.org.au

suggested that brain games lead to improvements in mental health among young people. However, this study was much larger and conducted more carefully. • Future research might want to focus on whether brain games can be used together with other prevention strategies to boost their effectiveness in young people who might be experiencing cognitive difficulties.

strengthening areas of the brain that have been associated with mental illness. These same areas of the brain have also been associated with our ability to plan, judge and strategise. • Even though they strengthened these areas of the brain, this did not translate into improvements in mental health, alcohol use or day-today functioning. • In contrast, smaller studies have

“While we did not find that brain games are an effective stand-alone strategy for preventing mental illness, our results are exciting because they indicate that they may be a useful accompaniment for other effective strategies that involve a lot of mental resources. This may be particularly the case for young people who experience cognitive difficulties,” Dr Mewton said. We congratulate Dr Mewton on her study results. This research is currently under review for publication in the journal Behaviour Research and Therapy.

Australian Rotary Health • PO Box 3455 Parramatta NSW 2124 • Phone 02 8837 1900 • www.australianrotaryhealth.org.au



Participate in ARH Funded Research ARH Mental Health Research Grant recipient Dr Amy FinlayJones is looking for participants for her research study on helping young Australians with chronic illness develop self-compassion. If you meet the criteria, please get involved or share with your networks: https://upliftproject.com.au/latest-news/2020/2/10/online-selfcompassion-training-for-chronic-conditions




Upcoming Australian Rotary Health fundraising events can be found at: www.australianrotaryhealth.org.au/events

MARCH 14-19 - RIDE TO CONFERENCE 2020 – ROTARY DISTRICT 9790 “THE FOUR RIVERS RIDE” Rotary District 9790 is raising money for ARH research again in 2020, at their Ride to Conference "The Four Rivers Ride". The 557km route is from Albury to Albury via Lake Hume Resort, Tallangatta, Bright and Beechworth. www.rotary9790.org.au/ MARCH 15-20 - 2020 RIDE FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH The 2020 Ride for Medical Research in District 9810 will embark on its 34th annual bike ride in support of ARH. Last year, the event raised $45,000 and this year they plan to raise even more! www.rotaryrideforresearch.com MARCH 21-22 - CARLTON ROTARY BOOK FAIR The Rotary Club of Carlton are supporting Australian Rotary Health at their annual Carlton Rotary Book Fair. Find them at the Kathlene Syme Centre, 251 Faraday St, Carlton. Thousands of books from $2 each. See poster overpage for more details. APRIL 19-24 - 42ND AFGR TOURNAMENT This year the tournament is held at the 13th Beach Golf Course, Barwon Heads (VIC). Profits from the 42nd AGFR Golf Tournament will be donated to ARH in support of mental health research. https://hightonrotary.com/page/agfr-tournament MAY 4 - AUSTRALIAN ROTARY HEALTH SCHOLARS’ DINNER Come along and be amazed by ARH Researchers, PhD Scholars, and Indigenous Health Scholarship recipients at the Australian Rotary Health Scholars' Dinner, hosted by the Rotary Club of Parramatta City. https://australianrotaryhealth.org.au/event/australian-rotaryhealth-scholars-dinner-2020/ OCTOBER 10 - LIFT THE LID ON MENTAL ILLNESS BY HOSTING A HAT DAY Lift the Lid on Mental Illness is Australian Rotary Health’s National mental health fundraising and awareness day. Rotary Clubs, schools, and workplaces across Australia can help Lift the Lid on Mental Illness by hosting a Hat Day event and/or collecting donations. www.hatday.com.au OCTOBER 21-25 - DIRT N DUST RUN 2020 Join the team on October 21-25 to cover 1,700km of dirty tracks in Western Australia, raising money for mental health projects, including Australian Rotary Health research. www.dirtndustrun.com


Photo Credit: Simon Sturzaker

Teddy Bear Fly In Raises Money for ARH In February, the Rotary Club of Devonport, Tasmania hosted its annual Teddy Bear Fly in and Kite Festival. ARH Chairman Elect Kevin Shadbolt, who attended the festival, said it was run on a perfect summer’s day with light winds and a clear sky. “There was a wonderful carnival atmosphere with families, food vans, a jumping castle and face painting,” Kevin said. “The teddy bear drop was a crowd favourite, a big cheer went up when the bears were dropped from the helicopter with all landing on the oval, none went to sea this year. My congratulations to the Rotary Club of Devonport.” More than $14,000 was raised at the event, with $4,000 to go towards an Australian Rotary Health research scholarship. The winner of the giant bear was three-year-old Willow Daly and her grandma Therese told the Advocate she couldn't be happier. "We love the kite festival and it is a credit to Rotary, the helicopter was amazing and it was a brilliant day for it," she said.

Book Fair Helps Mental Health Over the past few years the Rotary Club of Mount Gambier, South Australia, has hosted a Book Fair, donating the profits to a deserving cause of their choosing. The $5,000 that they raised last year is being donated Australian Rotary Health's "Lift the Lid on Mental Illness" campaign and we are incredibly grateful! During the year, books for the Book Fair are generously donated by local libraries, schools, people downsizing and those who wish to pass on a beloved book to someone else. Any books that are not suitable for sale are recycled. A wonderful community effort!

Australian Rotary Health • PO Box 3455 Parramatta NSW 2124 • Phone 02 8837 1900 • www.australianrotaryhealth.org.au


Last year’s Hat Day Mental Health Month in October 2019 kicked off for Australian Rotary Health in Sydney with a Q&A Breakfast with the media. It was a chance to showcase one of our previously funded researchers Dr Claire Kelly, who was involved in the teen Mental Health First Aid program, which has now caught the attention of famous pop star Lady Gaga. She was interviewed by TV personality Melissa Hoyer, and shared some interesting insights about how we can reach young people regarding their mental health. The rest of the month was filled with colourful hats, of course, and on October 10 (World Mental Health Day) Australian Rotary Health celebrated at our annual Golf for Research Day at Camden Lakeside Golf Course. We will be celebrating again this year in October, so it’s never too early to start planning! Visit www.hatday.com.au for more information.

Media and Presentation Training In November 2019, we hosted our regular Media and Presentation Training Workshop at the University of Melbourne, coinciding with the Society for Mental Health Research (SMHR) conference. The workshop teaches early career researchers how to present their research findings to the media and when presenting to a lay audience. The media session was led by Professor Rob Morrison and the presentation session was led by our Research Committee Chair Professor Jane Pirkis. Attendees found the workshop very useful. Our next workshop will be held this year in December at the University of Tasmania. Australian Rotary Health • PO Box 3455 Parramatta NSW 2124 • Phone 02 8837 1900 • www.australianrotaryhealth.org.au



Friends & Companions with Rotary Clubs Cumulative donations from September 2019-February 2020




Australian Rotary Health Donation Form I wish to make a donation. My details are as follows:

Diamond Companions - $100,000 Rotary Club of Salisbury, SA

Name: ………………………………………...………….... Rotarian

Gold Companions - $10,000 Resilience Agenda, Vic

Address: ……………………………………………………………………....……......

Companions - $5,000 Dennis Chellingsworth District 9650 Carol Coffey District 9670 Paul & Julie Reid Rotary Club of Blacktown City, NSW Janette Jackson Rotary Club of Cessnock, NSW Nancy Moore Rotary Club of Parramatta, NSW The Bowden Brothers District 9650 Rotary Club of Mount Gambier, SA e-Club of NexGen, Queensland Diamond Friends - $2,500 Rob Morrison, SA Ray Riehm Rotary Club of Box Hill, Vic. Haran & Ahsha Ramachandran Rotary Club of The Hills/Kellyville, NSW Platinum Friends - $2,000 Rosemary Freeman Rotary Club of Moreland, Vic. Silver Friends - $1,000 Sandra Payne Rotary Club of Carlingford, NSW Amy Hing-Young Rotary Club of Sydney Inner West, NSW Geoff Simpson Rotary Club of Flagstaff Hill, SA Barry Mendelawitz Rotary Club of Applecross, WA Phil Garling, NSW Patrick O’Shea Rotary Club of Bright, VIC

(tick if applicable)

.................................................................................. P/Code: ……................… Email: .……………………….......................................................…..................... Enclosed is my cheque for $........................................... Signed:……...……………….........………...……….............................. Please credit the …………..................................... Rotary Club with this donation.

I authorise Australian Rotary Health, as a one-off donation, to deduct $.......................... from my credit card account. I authorise Australian Rotary Health to deduct a monthly/quarterly/annual donation of $.................. from my credit card. Visa



Card No: ……...………………..………...………………..…..................................... Expiry: …..... / ….......

CVC Number ……….......

Signed:……...………..........….……..………...…....................... Or donate online at: www.australianrotaryhealth.org.au

Share this Newsletter with Friends Online We are uploading digital copies of all our publications online now giving you the opportunity to easily share Australian Rotary Health updates with other Rotarians and friends. Simply head to this link: https://issuu.com/australianrotaryhealth17/ We also send out an e-newsletter every fortnight. To ensure you don’t miss all the latest news, email news@arh.org.au or call (02) 8837 1900 to be included on the mailing list.


Australian Rotary Health • PO Box 3455 Parramatta NSW 2124 • Phone 02 8837 1900 • www.australianrotaryhealth.org.au

Profile for Australian Rotary Health

Australian Rotary Health 2020 Autumn Update  

The Autumn 2020 Update includes acknowledgement of Rotarians who have supported ARH, updates on ARH research findings, and ARH fundraising...

Australian Rotary Health 2020 Autumn Update  

The Autumn 2020 Update includes acknowledgement of Rotarians who have supported ARH, updates on ARH research findings, and ARH fundraising...

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