Early in my youth I was confronted with the harsh reality of mental health when a family friend committed suicide. Then my life accelerated through school, university, career and family. So it was very interesting for myself when I got to the end of first chapter in my career where I took a breath and reflected on what I had learned. One of those lessons was how prevalent mental health is and how many stories I could share from those who I have met along the way. Whether it was a mate showing huge resilience working through a serious accident and accepting a permanent disability, seeing a FIFO worker being taken away as a result of a psychotic episode or the copious amounts of alcohol I’ve witnessed consumed amongst FIFO workers on a remote construction site; it goes on. As a CEO, you quickly learn the skills of resilience, however you also observe your employees go through their ups and downs, with some staying down. Then you dig a little deeper with family and friends, identifying most have a story to tell, or two.
So when I met the team at Oqea, I was inspired. Firstly, because I realised how hard it is for those working in the mental health industry, but secondly because I was joining a company with a real clear purpose of bringing wellbeing for everyone, everywhere.
Some may say that is ambitious, however we know many people need help and that is our focus. My experience of mental health has so far mostly been amongst men within the industries I’ve been a part of and to say we need to make a change is a massive understatement. According to research generated by the Black Dog Institute, 72% of males don’t seek help for mental health disorders 8. We’ve built a place where ALL individuals (male, female or non-binary) can feel comfortable to connect to those people and resources that can provide much needed wellbeing support; in doing so we seek to contribute to greater wellbeing in the lives of many.
As a young man and Oqea member so aptly commented, “Oqea is extremely useful and reassuring if you are going through a tough time”. This quote encapsulates what we are about.
I am super excited to formally join Oqea this week as their CEO, my second chapter in my career is loaded and I look forward to making a difference. We all know a family member, friend or colleague that has had a rough time at some point in their lives. I invite you to be a part of a solution to the problem.