headspace Friends and Family National Reference Group

The headspace Family and Friends Reference Group is made up of 10 diverse members who all have a lived experience of supporting a young person through headspace services.

The headspace Family and Friends Reference Group advocate for the role, contribution and needs of families and friends across all headspace programs and services. 

Alison Reid Ann Gallagher Chene McNab Emma Burton Jamie Maxfield Ruth Hopkins Shallon Yi Sharene Dearlove Tracey Martinez

Alison Reid

Alison Reid 1Where are you from?
Brisbane, Queensland

Associated centre
headspace Nundah

A bit about Alison…
I am the parent of two young adult children (18 and 22) who have accessed headspace to support them with their mental health and wellbeing. I am also a social worker who has worked with a lot of young people. I am concerned about young people with mental health issues being able to get accessible, affordable services.

I also know that working collaboratively with family and friends is important for getting the best outcomes, and that is why I applied to be part of the headspace Family and Friends reference group. I am aware of how important it is for family and friends to take good care of themselves so that we can support our young people.

An interesting fact about Alison…
When I am not working I like to watch TV, read, do craft and walk my dog. Having a dog is one of the best ways to improve mental health!

Ann Gallagher

Ann GallagherWhere are you from?
Blind Bight, Victoria

Associated centre
headspace Narre Warren

A bit about Ann…
I applied to be part of the headspace Family and Friends Reference Group as I have a passion to help with mental health. As a holistic counsellor and a netball coach working with teens, I have seen the effect of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, drug and alcohol use, and unfortunately suicide far too many times.

I love to help people feel good and empowered and working with the Family and Friends Reference Group will help take that to a broader range of people and will also enable me to learn so much more in return

An interesting fact about Ann…
I love the number 13. It has played a significant part in my life more than most would consider. I would be quite willing to tell you about it.

Chene McNab

Chene McNabWhere are you from?
South West, Western Australia

Associated centre
headspace Bunbury

A bit about Chene…
I am a passionate advocate for youth mental health and have been involved with the Bunbury headspace Family and Friends Reference Group for four years and the National Family and Friends Reference Group for two years.

I believe the difference that early intervention plays in enabling young people to lead happy and fulfilling lives. Some of my main areas of passion are around anxiety, bullying, self-harm and suicide, drugs and alcohol, and social and emotional development.

I value the significant roles that family and friends play in supporting young people and as such am honoured and humbled to be a member of the headspace Family and Friends Reference Group. 

An interesting fact about Chene…
During the last few years, I have completed two psychology degrees. When not studying or working, I am with my family and friends. I am often found in the kitchen surrounded by baked sweet treats, preserves, and my much adored and very spoilt poodle. 

Emma Burton

Emma Burton 1Where are you from?
Merrylands, New South Wales

Associated centre
headspace Parramatta

A bit about Emma…
I have been passionate about mental health for many years now, especially as I have seen the direct impact mental health issues and the stigma that often surrounds this has had on those in my life who I support. When I came across the opportunity to be part of the headspace Family and Friends Reference Group I applied immediately.

I knew this would be a fantastic way to become involved in making sustainable change that would not only benefit those who I know, but also others in the community who may be facing their own mental health challenges. I see this as a way for a group of family and friends supporting loved ones to come together with a common goal to make a real difference within the sector and in service delivery.

An interesting fact about Emma…
I love cats and have three of my own including two hairless sphynx’s and a Cornish Rex who I recently rescued and adopted. Although having three very mischievous cats keeps me busy, I hope to adopt more!

Jamie Maxfield

Jamie Maxfield 2Where are you from?
Brisbane, Queensland

Associated centre
headspace Caboolture, headspace Redcliffe

A bit about Jamie…
I joined the headspace Family and Friends Reference Group because I’m passionate about preventing youth suicide, particularly the unbelievably high rate amongst young men. My nephew Ashley took his own life four years ago at the age of 20.

Knowing what I know now, about mental health and how we can help young people improve their mental wellbeing, inspires me to do what I can to bring this issue out of the shadows, and give young people the help they deserve.

An interesting fact about Jamie…
I’m a singer and performer and used to be in a rock band up until four years ago. I’ve since released a couple of solo singles under my artist name, Maxfield.

Ruth Hopkins

Ruth Hopkins 5Where are you from?
Fountaindale, New South Wales

Associated centre

A bit about Ruth…
I am always amazed when talking to parents and/or grandparents how much they are worried about their children with similar symptoms I saw in my granddaughter. Just talking about it makes you realise you are not unusual, this is happening to lots of families, and I always tell them about our experience with headspace.

I would like to be able to help families be aware of the services that headspace can offer and the commitment of the people working there to help young people.

Mainly I am looking through the eyes of a granny escorting a grandchild; I wanted to know the meaning of a diagnosis, what I could do to help, why the change from anxiety to psychosis, and how the medication would affect the family as well as the patient.

Let’s talk about mental health, just like we would talk about Glandular Fever or arthritis!

An interesting fact about Ruth…
My husband and I did the tree change 10 years ago when we retired from full-time work. We live on 25 acres, 100kms from Sydney. The land is designated ‘Land for Wildlife’ and so 18 of our acres is virgin bush and part of a wildlife corridor. Living here is very satisfying as we have lots of our special native animals, plants and birds such as wallabies, possums, lyrebirds etc. Our family from Sydney love visiting as they can relax surrounded by the Australian bush. 

Shallon Yi

Shallon YiWhere are you from?
Brisbane, Queensland

Associated centre
headspace Nundah

A bit about Shallon…
I am passionate about parents being empowered and supported with the right knowledge and resources to support their children through adolescence. I believe that connectedness to a safe and loving family is such a significant protective factor in young people’s lives, that it should be an absolute priority in legislation, policy, research and service provision. I am excited for the opportunity to contribute to the ways in which headspace plays a crucial role in this area.
An interesting fact about Shallon…
When my oldest son was 9, we packed up and moved to Cambodia. We met the most amazing people who changed my life forever, including my beautiful husband who was brave enough to leave his home country for the first time to come and live in Australia. 

Sharene Dearlove

Sharene DearloveWhere are you from?
Port Augusta, South Australia

Associated centre
headspace Port Augusta

A bit about Sharene…
We have been involved with our local headspace centre for quite a few years after my daughter experienced severe anxiety and depression when she moved to Adelaide and started university.

headspace was our first point of contact and our local centre has been a huge support over our three-year journey. Thankfully headspace Port Augusta is very family inclusive, offering support and guidance to not only my daughter, but those of us supporting her.

I am a passionate believer that our young people need the support of either family or friends outside of their health professional. These people are the ones that are the 24/7 support so ensuring they have the tools to help in the best way possible is so important.

I hope that be being involved with the Family and Friends Reference Group we can help build those additional support mechanisms and offerings that can help those supporting our young people in a more meaningful way.

An interesting fact about Sharene…
I have been a mortgage broker for the last 25 years, plus started an new business last year, I am a netball coach & administrator, calisthenics coach, and hoping to get back to studying my bachelor of arts degree soon – I don’t sit still well!

Tracey Martinez

Tracey Martinez 5Where are you from?
Sydney, New South Wales

Associated centre

A bit about Tracey…
I have been dealing with the mental health system for the past four years with my daughter who has a mental illness. I have found many problem areas and little information along the way. I am passionate about giving support to family and friends and making it easier for those who need help to get it.

headspace offers help for young people, and I want to improve the system to make it the best it can be. 

An interesting fact about Tracey…
I have worked in childcare for 20 years, and now help my husband run our business. I love the outdoors and have a positive outlook on life.