On the 16th May 2019, the Mental Health Foundation Australia (MHFA) conducted it’s first Youth Advisory Committee Meeting for 2019. During the meeting, the Mental Health Foundation Australia inducted 17 Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) members with Alexander Lisov being elected the Chairperson of the YAC. Under new Chairperson, Alexander Lisov leadership the YAC set a clear and defined focus for the year ahead.
The YAC committee set the following goals for 2019:
- Promoting MHFA’s youth oriented events in Mental Health Month such as the Future Leaders Conference and the Youth Mental Health Wellbeing Conference
- Helping young Australians who are in transition from high school to higher education alongside their studies and extracurricular activities
- Advancing mental health education, awareness and promotion of better mental health and seeking to remove the stigma of mental health
The YAC members will on behalf of MHFA act to communicate with the youth of Australia as well as promote better mental health within this demographic. The endeavours of our YAC members will be supported by all at the Mental Health Foundation Australia.
Our Youth Advisory Committee Members
Here is a detailed profile of all our committee members. These profiles include background on each members as well as the role they will be undertaking in the committee.
Alexander Lisov– Chairperson
Alexander has been passionately involved in helping mental health causes for many years now, which first began during his secondary school education. His drive and energy have resulted in Alexander overseeing successful fundraising and educational initiatives for important causes over the years. He strongly believes that education will be the key to building awareness of mental health and for the development of much needed support programs across all sectors in society. Alexander is currently working in Finance and has completed a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Economics at Monash University. He is committed to making a difference to help others in society.
Rachel Wynne– Vice Chairperson
Rachel recently completed a Bachelor of Criminology and Psychological Science at Deakin University and is now undertaking Honours in Psychology. Rachel aims to become a forensic psychologist working with offenders wanting to make a difference. Rachel also enjoys spending quality time with her Golden Retriever Humphrey and watching the television show F.R.I.E.N.D.S.
Markos Hasiotis– Vice Chairperson
Mark is a tall and friendly Greek-Australian with many interests. He loves being creative, exploring different facets of life and making a positive contribution in any way that he can. His work history reflects his many diverse interests: He’s adjudicated high school debates, written pop culture articles, worked in a space program and done promotional work for brands at events. His main passion in life is facts; He tweets them, He won a game show in 2017 and works in fact-checking for the BBC. He really loves learning new things and sharing them with as many people as possible and Mark spends a lot of time trying to fight against the scourges of misinformation and hates it’s prevalence in society. Mark has previously struggled with mental issues in his younger days, he endured much bullying and a turbulent family home which has not only given him strength and empathy but has also galvanised his passion for helping others.
Olympia Sarris– Secretary
Olympia recently completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne and she is now studying a Masters of Public Health. Health is a most sincere concern and interest of her’s. In Olympia’s experience as a student, she has witnessed first-hand how deeply mental and physical health issues can impact a student experience at university. As such, Olympia has developed a keen interest in managing chronic conditions, and reducing the stigma around such conditions within the community. She particularly interested in applying her background in social sciences and creative arts to specific policy-making, and the public promotion of health. Eager to learn more about the health sector, Olympia has recently been working as a Student Health Promotion Consultant at the University of Melbourne, to promote health and wellbeing around campus. She look forward to building on the knowledge gained in this position to improve mental health outcomes within the public sphere. To support her own health and wellbeing, Olympia plays mixed netball once a week, exercises daily, and attends traditional Greek dance classes. She is very open about her own experiences with health, and she seeks inspiration from hearing the stories of others.
Joanne Tan– Events Committee Chairperson
Joanne is from Penang, a northern state in Malaysia. Her undergraduate research was on the influence of types of media (video, audio, and video game) on pro-social behaviour between genders. After graduation, Joanne interned in an NGO which advocates for women’s rights and helps victims of domestic violence and child sexual abuse. After her internship, she was offered the role of Program Coordinator in another NGO which advocates for sexual reproductive health and rights. There, Joanne worked with youths, the LGBT community and sex workers. She also mentored interns and youth volunteers of the organisation. Currently, she is studying Diploma of Community Services at Melbourne Polytechnic for her own professional development. Joanne is passionate about social justice especially on issues faced by young people and mental health. She is hoping to be able to make a contribution to these areas with her knowledge and experience.
Emma Nelson– Social Media Committee Chairperson
Emma Nelson is currently studying her Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University, hoping to major in both History and Sociology. Her friends and family would describe her as passionate, impulsive, happy and outgoing – all characteristics of which she would hope to live up too most days. Emma loves spending the weekend at her families farm with her animals and her beloved Border Collie named Dusty. She is also an avid Richmond supporter. Emma believes that we have come so far as a society in progressing our actions and understandings toward bettering mental health issues, and to be apart of an organisation that is dedicated to continuing to do so is something Emma believes to be very special. Emma’s dream is to eradicate stigma and insensitivity surrounding mental health and she believes this can be achieved through initiating conversation. Emma is incredibly excited and honoured to be apart of the Youth committee as she is beyond passionate about the mental health of all Australians.
Laura Christopolous– Social Media Committee Chairperson
Laura has completed a combined Bachelor’s degree in Psychological Sciences and Criminology at Deakin University. Laura has an interest in forensic psychology and would like to pursue this career further, with a desire to work with offenders and individuals within the criminal justice system. She is very passionate about mental health, and would like to support and make a difference in the lives of others. Laura enjoys working with young people and volunteering within the community. She also enjoys reading, exercising, and listening to music in her free time.
Pia Cole– Publications Committee Chairperson
Pia Cole has recent graduate of my Bachelor of Arts, majoring in psychology. She is currently working and will return to study to complete my honours in psychology in 2020. Pia wants to expand her understanding of mental healthcare, and she believes volunteering is a great way to learn as well as make a positive contribution to her community
Vanessa Harris– Publications Committee Chairperson
Vanessa is a 23-year-old bubbly, creative, spontaneous and motivated young woman. Having been through my fair share of challenges in life, she believes that she has a strong insight and understanding as to who she is and what she wants to do with her life. Vanessa has developed a strong passion for wanting to help others, she shows plenty of kindness and empathy, and lives a happy life. In her spare time you might find Emma doing handstands, baking cupcakes, and reading outside
Events Committee Members
Rupa is a Master of Business Administration International graduate, who majored in Research
with her thesis focusing on the transition of international students with emphasis on
their graduate employability outcomes. Having a background in a range of industries from Investment Banking to an NGO to a travel and hospitality start-up, Rupa now wishes to work with Universities to design and create initiatives and engage with students to ensure they have a smooth transition and an enhanced experience at University.
Rida Khan currently works at Wellsprings for Women in Dandenong. She has a complicated background as she was born in Pakistan, with first language Japanese and seventh language Chinese (Mandarin) coming from rural Victoria and being a qualified Aged Care Nurse. Rida started her youth leadership by participating in programs like Nexus Horsham to prevent drug and alcohol abuse within rural youth. Rida is a Victorian state Merit Award recipient of Hanyu Qiao Chinese Speaking Competition (2008/2009), regional Lions Youth of the Year (2011), winner at Wimmera Regional Creative Writing Competition (2011). Rida is an alumni of Doxa Youth Foundation (2012), she has been awarded Ancora Imparo Monash vice-chancellor award (2014), followed by being part of Multicultural Youth Network (MYN) under former Minister of Multicultural Affairs Robin Scott (2015-2017). She has engaged in intercultural and interfaith dialogues at schools and universities as part of both MYN and Belief Pathways (2016-2017). She was the Youth Ambassador at the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity and Health (2018). An advisor to Victorian Transcultural Mental Health (VTMH) project- “Intersect Out in the CALD” (2018). First Muslim woman Advisor at Monash City Council’s MYPRG, she is also part of Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria’s (ECCV) Intercultural Youth Advocacy Leadership (IYAL) and City of Casey’s Multicultural Youth Meeting Group. After nine years of hard work, she is the recipient of High Commission Pakistan Medallion by Government of Pakistan (2018), Sir John Monash Youth Leadership High Commendation (2018).
Harlin Gandhok is youth counsellor and has previously worked in family violence. She has an extensive history working with young people from all background including refugees and asylum seekers.
Social Media Committee Members
Ajay has previously volunteered at the mental health foundation and presented on Generational stress at the youth conference. Alongside that he managed the foundation’s Instagram page. Ajay is very passionate about mental health and he would like to make a difference in the mental health sector.
Publications Committee Members
Scarlett is very passionate about mental health and mental health misinformation especially when it comes to vulnerable people such as young people who are struggling with mental illness. Scarlett hopes that over the coming years there will be big changes in awareness and misunderstanding on Mental Health and that she can help be a part of that change by working with the MHFA team. During her free time, Scarlett loves to learn more about psychology and to spend time with her cats.