Teresa Togno | Mental Health Recovery Worker at Chorus
Chorus is an organisation that offers support, mentoring, and a future for people with mental health illnesses.
Teresa has been praised for going out of her way to make sure clients feel listened to, feel supported and feel safe. “She makes sure contact details of organisations are given to clients in case they need support after hours, she attends as an advocate where needed. She turns up early for work if a client has been unwell and may need extra support or some inspirational words to get through till psychs/specialists open at 9am. Many clients see her as their first call of direction/support and she always has good things to say, very pleasant happy personality.”
Tina is of NZ Maori descent and wishes to acknowledge the custodians of the land, the Wadjuk-Noonga peoples.
Tina said “I have been the support person for those seeking help and those that are grieving due to suicide. Whether it’s supporting them to the hospital or service provider for medical attention or counselling sessions. At least there is someone that they can count on to ensure their health and wellbeing is looked after, even if they can’t understand it themselves. It’s a ‘guiding
hand’ at least.
“I have had to use Intervention skills when someone is thinking of suicide. But I keep going, encouraging people that life is worth living even if they feel it isn’t. I say ‘take one moment at a time, and one day at a time, it will get easier for you as time goes by’”.
Carissa Wright | Mental Health Advocate at Mental Illness Fellowship of WA
Carissa Wright is an active mental health advocate and lived experience speaker. In addition to her speaker role with Consumers of Mental Health WA, Carissa has been involved with a range of mental health organisations, including speaking for Suicide Prevention Australia. She is also a contributing author for one of the leading mental health sites in the world. Her expertise is sharing her experience with Borderline Personality Disorder. She is currently involved in co-designing a BPD program in Perth.
“Carissa can connect with diverse audiences, her descriptive delivery of her story provides the listener with a greater insight into the experience of a commonly misunderstood disorder and demystifies mental health issues. Her message of hope is at the core of her story, encouraging others in her position to not give in to stigma and reach out for the help.”
Lorraine consults with consumers on a broad scale, including rural and remote networks, to understand the experience of consumers and best represent their needs at the state and national levels.
“Lorraine is always very professional, caring, selfcontrolled, articulate and well-researched, which ensures that she has influence in all of her communications with others, especially senior government and agency officials. She demonstrates considerable tolerance of other’s issues, whilst also being able to calmly and peacefully address issues.
“I sincerely admire Lorraine’s capacity to represent her cohort rain, hail or shine. Her work is outstanding, and her commitment has seen some great outcomes in the mental health reform space.”
Melissa Dimitru | Pulmonary Hypertension Network Australia
Nothing existed for the pulmonary hypertension community in WA until Melissa created the support group in late 2010, which has now grown into a network. Melissa has created a supportive environment where patients can talk about what it is like to live with this progressive, chronic disease with no cure.
“Melissa herself is in the advanced stages of this disease but it hasn’t stopped her incredible non-stop dedication to her PH community, to introduce and create the basics needed, implement them, grow them, learn multiple new skills to grow from a support group to a network that has around 2000 followers and members across its platforms.”