Find out more about the men who were shortlisted for a Men's Health Award 2020 in the category of Best Lived Experience Speaker.
The award is open to any man who has helped improve the lives and health of men and boys by sharing his own personal health story as a lived experience speaker or consumer health advocate.
Voting is open until Sunday 14 June at 5pm AEST.
David Dyke is a Perth man who was diagnosed prostate cancer and took the brave decision to turn his experience into a short film to help other men. David describes the experience of receiving a cancer diagnosis as earth-shattering, but he was inspired to help other men by documenting his entire journey as openly as possible. He documents his journey wrestling with the options and facing up to potential complications like incontinence and erectile dysfunction. With the help of a team of specialists, David prepares himself physically and mentally for the operation and embarks steadily on the road to recovery. David now speaks at men’s support groups in WA to raise awareness of men’s health, reduce stigma around prostate cancer and help men understand their options.
Former NRL player, world boxing title holder and proud Wiradjuri First Nations man Joe Williams was always plagued by negative dialogue in his head, and the pressures of elite sport took their toll. Joe eventually turned to drugs and alcohol to silence the dialogue, before attempting to take his own life in 2012. In the aftermath, determined to rebuild, Joe took up professional boxing and got clean.Through customised workshops Joe talks of dealing with adversities, struggles, resilience, addiction, connection, emotional wellbeing & healing trauma in schools, communities, correctional services, sporting clubs and workplaces. He also shares his story in his book, Defying the Enemy Within and outlines his wellness plan, the simple steps that helped him stay healthy.
Layne Stretton is a coach, facilitator and speaker in the psychology that underpins career development. He is also passionate about Suicide Prevention and a director of Roses in the Ocean, a not-for-profit that exists to save lives and reduce emotional distress and pain. Roses in the Ocean's work focuses on informing, influencing and enhancing suicide prevention through lived experience and supporting organisations to effectively and meaningfully engage lived experience expertise. As well as being a director of Roses in the Ocean, Layne is also a powerful advocate who shares his own experiences of mental health and suicide.
Matt Runnalls is Founder and CEO of Mindfull Aus. He has lived with mental illness, surviving suicide attempts and lost several friends to suicide dating back to the age of 12. Matt has delivered over 100 talks, workshops and events across Australia, Canada & America and his story has featured in books, documentaries, songs, podcasts, television and the media. Matt says: "I just want to teach people what I wish I had of known growing up, I know if I had of been this knowledgable about Mental Health & Suicide now I could have potentially still be able to share laughs and memories with those mates I've lost. I know personally my life would have been a lot different and now I have that opportunity to ensure the next generation doesn't walk into the unknown like I did".
Justin Geange is a plumber by trade, who achieved some fame as the mascot for the Brisbane Broncos who appeared on Australia's Got Talent. In the men's health and suicide prevention sector, Justin is known for his work sharing about his lived experience of attempting suicide in 2013. As well as sharing his personal experience of suicide, Justin has retrained and now works in the sector for the suicide prevention charity MATES In Construction. His tireless commitment to the cause is demonstrated by his Men's Health 365 initiative, which saw him growing a beard for a year and then shaving it off, to raise money for men's health.
Anthony Hart is suicide attempt survivor who develop his own rehabilitation program and turned into an APP called the Lifeback Tracker. He has also created the Save Our Mates community wellbeing events. According to one of the people who nominated Anthony: “He is a nationally recognised Mind Health advocate, author and speaker. His honest, open approach and impactful story, has made him a speaker growing in popularity with audiences from large corporate workplaces to regional men's community groups. He speaks to diverse groups telling his unique story of mind health, and step by step, rolls out easy to follow Wellbeing Workshops across Australia.”
John Clark is the Training Team Leader at RAW (Rural Alive and Well) Tasmania. Working in the private sector, John experienced a serious burnout and after some time in recovery, changed career to work with people who were affected by mental illness. John is a Mental Health First Aid Trainer, a volunteer speaker for Beyond Blue and Suicide Prevention Australia and is passionate about reducing stigma around mental illness, suicide and encouraging others to get help either for themselves, their families or their mates. John has shared his personal experiences at numerous events focused on male suicide prevention around Tasmania.
Geoff Didier is an ex-Australian Rugby Union player who suffered prostate cancer and had a prostatectomy which changed his life - normal was now no longer 'normal' as he would define it. Over the years that followed his operation he worked diligently at his rehab program with his healthcare team and overcame many barriers, avoiding the numerous pitfalls along the way. Today, Geoff speaks publicly in support groups, conferences and one on one with patients that are going through what he went through to help not only educate them but to inspire them to 'get back to normal'. The health professionals he works with say he provides his time voluntarily and always brings positivity, enthusiasm and generosity to his talks.
Dave Oliver describes himself as a survivor of toxic shame. He was born into the sport of rugby, playing for clubs in Canberra, Sydney and Cowra and continuing to coach today. David hid his sexuality for the majority of my teenage and adult life, a path he says manifested into substance use and abuse and an addiction to methamphetamine. As a volunteer Lifeline Telephone Crisis Supporter, Dave is concerned about the mental health and wellbeing of those who experience shame and anguish as a result of their sexuality and their involvement in sport. He believes there is a long way to go in sport in Australia to provide inclusive environments for same sex-attracted participants. Dave is building resources that help him share his story in sports clubs and school in ways that can have a positive influence on the lives of same sex attracted participants within the sport of rugby union and other sports.
Jye Cardona is a young Kungarakan and Buranggum man, based in Darwin, who has been using his lived experience of PTSD to shape and improve services for young men in the NT. He regularly speaks about his own journey and the importance of programs which elevate positive and realistic male role models. He also advocates for and supports other men who wish to have platform to share their stories. Jye co-developed and facilitated a session on inter-generational trauma with clinicians from Headspace, where he has used his direct experiences to provide understanding of broader social, emotional and well-being challenges for men and male youth. Jye also founded the "brother to another" sessions in Don Dale youth detention centre, which works to bring more Aboriginal men into Don Dale to engage with youth. Jye has also created the Life Itself Movement (LiT) for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men aged 18-28 and recently joined the board of the Darwin Indigenous Men's Service to help develop the strategic direction of the organisation.