MEET THE PASSION, DEDICATION AND EXPERIENCE BEHIND MENTAL HEALTH MOVEMENT

At the Mental Health Movement our driving mission is to deliver improved mental health outcomes to our clients. Our team of experienced professionals are dedicated to meet the needs and objectives of our valued clients. All our team members have their own personal experiences with mental health or mental illness that drive them to want to make a lasting change for other individuals. You can get to know some of our team below.

Dan Hunt

CO-FOUNDER / CEO

Dan's impressive sporting career spanned over nine years culminating in his 150th game played for the St George Illawarra Dragons. During his career as a professional athlete, he struggled with and overcome many adversities. Using the power of personal story and lived experience to break down the stigma which stops people seeking help for mental health issues, Dan focusses on driving change by altering society’s perception of mental health issues and those struggling with them.

Dan was diagnosed with Type 2 Bipolar Disorder in 2010. At the height of his mental illness and the struggle it presented, he felt alone and isolated as access to information was not readily or easily available. This led to him feeling vulnerable and fearful as he felt it showed weakness to ask for help or assistance. At the time, Dan knew there would be other people in similar situations, experiencing similar issues who also needed access to helpful information and support. Although a challenging time in his own life, Dan knew if he could openly and honestly share his experiences, knowledge and coping strategies, he would be able to assist others in better managing their own mental health.

His own life experiences and determination to help others is what inspired the creation of The Mental Health Movement and lead to Dan’s further study in Mental Health, Community Services, Mental Health First Aid, Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD), Fitness, Business and Career Development.

Nadeen Hunt

Co-Founder / Operations Manager

Nadeen is a very hard working, resilient individual. At a young age she tragically lost her father. This sudden loss devastated her and the family. Struggling as a young teenager Nadeen felt lost, alone and isolated.

Through a positive mentor in her grandmother, Nadeen learnt to look at the silver lining and be grateful for the things she did have and the things she was doing. Moving away from her comfort zone at 18 years of age, she started her career in the corporate world and by 21 was a Branch Manager for St George Bank. For years she flourished becoming the best version of herself.

At 21 she had her daughter and her life took a different path. A path of a poor relationship that lacked support, love and affection. Experiencing years of struggle the relationship broke down and she became a single parent. Having to again be resilient and work through another challenge Nadeen found a passion to help others. Using her experiences, passion and skills she worked in customer relations helping individuals, bringing joy to their lives. Nadeen has become an integral part of the Mental Health Movement. She possesses a unique set of skills in understanding people. This goes a long way in understanding our clients needs and objectives, formulating strategies to assist the individual and the company in finding the best version of themselves.

Chris Houston

MHM CONSULTANT & FACILITATOR

Chris Houston has been a professional sportsman for over 15 years. He played 10 years in the NRL with both the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Newcastle Knights. He also played 3 years overseas in the English Super League for the Widnes Vikings.

Whilst playing at all three clubs Chris was given chances to work in high-pressure, result driven environments. He has been involved in leadership groups in all three clubs and has also had the honor of captaining each team.

During his early years as a sportsman he realised the need to develop himself as a person, finding an identity and purpose through completing a Bachelor of Primary Education. Chris has also studied in the mental health space completing a Mental Health First Aid Accreditation and a Certificate in Counseling.

Throughout his life Chris has faced many changes, challenges and adversities. Some as simple as moving out of home at 17 years old, to moving overseas with a young family and having no support.

During these times Chris’s mental health was challenged. He was forced into a dark place with no light at the end of the tunnel. Through his personal resilience, coping strategies and support networks Chris worked through and overcame these challenges and got back to the best version of himself.

Chris has seen the need for males to be able to start the conversation and seek support, also witnessing what can happen when they don’t. Chris is passionate and driven to be a part of the change the mental health space needs through sharing his education and lived experience.

Cecilia Gilders

Psychologist & Clinical Consultant

Cecilia is a registered psychologist (Queensland) who specialises in Occupational Health Psychology, Counselling, Organisational Consultancy Services, Rehabilitation and Return to Work services. She is a Member of the Australian Psychological Society.

Cecilia holds a Bachelor of Social Science from Deakin University and a Graduate Diploma of Counselling Psychology from Monash University.

She has undertaken significant on site work in the mining and construction industries, including 20 years of onsite EAP services, critical incident responses, peer support training and debriefing and change management and redundancy support.

Cecilia has run a private psychology practice in Cairns completing EAP, Medicare, worker’s compensation and other private practice counselling work for 20 years. Cecilia has worked for both the Queensland and the Australian Federal Governments as a psychologist and contractor, providing organisational consultancy services to Departments such as Employment and Training, Health and Education.

Brett Connellan

MHM CONSULTANT & FACILITATOR

Brett Connellan is a young man on a mission. In 2016 he was attacked by a Great White Shark whilst surfing at his local break, in Kiama. That late afternoon on Bombo Beach, Brett was inches from death. He lost three quarters of his quad, and emergency responders on the scene were sure Brett wasn’t going to make it. 

Brett went through a very tough process of rehabilitation, having to learn how to basic things like walk and drive again. During this time, Brett went through many ups and downs and was led to asking himself the tough question of ‘WHY?’.

Three years on, Brett is back surfing and being the best version of himself. He is physically fitter than ever and mentally he has become a powerhouse. Brett’s story is so very powerful and his level of resilience is something that Australians need to hear.

Now trained in the mental health facilitation, Brett is determined to make a difference in mental health space and cannot wait to work with your workplace.

Ashton Sims

MHM CONSULTANT & FACILITATOR

Ashton Sims has been a professional sportsman for over 17 years in both the NRL (St George Illawarra Dragons, Brisbane Broncos & Nth QLD Cowboys) and English Super League (Warrington Wolves & Toronto Wolfpack).

Ashton enjoyed and thrived in the high-pressure cauldron that Rugby League can be. Added to the leadership group at a young age and enjoyed this responsibility at all the clubs he represented. Ashton has strong family core values; passion, dedication, adaptability, dependability and integrity. These traits have served him well throughout adversities faced as a professional sportsman and he continues to live by them and help others to find their personal values to live by. 

Watching his father get up at 2:30am six days a week, he knew what dedication & sacrifice looked like at a very young age and with dreams to become a professional sportsman, Ashton left home at 17. He was always aware that Rugby League wouldn’t last forever so he equipped himself for life after football gaining qualifications in personal training, leadership and management.  

Being a professional athlete was not always easy. Ashton faced certain difficulties throughout his career including moving away from family and friends, relocating to England and spending large chunks of time in Canada at the end of his career. Being dropped from 1st team honours, injury, early contract release, and making monumental errors on live TV are a few of many adversities Ashton has taken on with a positive attitude and energy to succeed. 

Ashton is determined to make sure he helps create positive culture in your workplace, and an environment where it is ok to struggle, it is ok to show emotion and it is ok to talk about your personal struggles. 

Life Motto: Would the boy you were, be proud of the man you’ve become? 

Debbie Swibel

SUICIDOLOGIST & CLINICAL CONSULTANT/SUPPORT

Debbie is a suicidologist, a criminologist and practising counsellor and psychotherapist. Debbie believes that education is key to understanding mental health.

An experienced and passionate educator, Debbie is recognised as an industry expert.

Debbie is a trainer and assessor at Lifeline and trains students who wish to volunteer on the phones at Lifeline. Debbie is an accredited mental health response and Mental Health First Aid trainer.

Debbie's presenting style is informative, educational and enjoyable. Debbie supports the approach of drawing on personal strengths and resilience to overcome adversity.

Debbie promotes a lifestyle of health, wellness and wellbeing and encourages and inspires people to be the best they can be.

Ben Higgs

MHM CONSULTANT & FACILITATOR

Using over 30 years experience living with a mental illness, Ben isn’t your average every day presenter delivering a boring presentation. The real, raw, no bullshit approach to life, what it can throw at us, what we can be presented with, and more importantly how we face it. Ben's focus is on educating and teaching the everyday practice tools we can use so that people no longer have to live in silence with mental illness or poor mental health.

Ben engages with communities coming together for a common cause creating events such as Ratfest, PPP4SPA, Walk it Off and Hitting The Road. Having worked with organisations such as Suicide Prevention Australia and Black Dog institute, In 2016 Ben was invited to the United States National conference on behavioural health and more recently in 2019 a guest speaker at the International Bi Polar Foundation international conference.

Robbie Hardy

MHM CONSULTANT & FACILITATOR

Robbie has been to dark places far too many times throughout his life. Whilst managing Bipolar Disorder, Robbie has learned one of the best ways to come out of those dark places is by facing your demons and seeking support. 

Robbie once thought vulnerability was weakness, but he has come to realise that it is in fact strength and the more we embrace and manage our struggles, the stronger we will all become. 

Through his knowledge, lived experience and mental health training, Robbie wants to help show people no matter where your headspace is, there is always a way to manage it and work through it. 

Robbie also believes as human beings we are all more resilient than we think and through any life challenge, change or adversity we are not alone.

Dan Hunt

CO-FOUNDER / CEO

my bio

Dan's impressive sporting career spanned over nine years culminating in his 150th game played for the St George Illawarra Dragons. During his career as a professional athlete, he struggled with and overcome many adversities. Using the power of personal story and lived experience to break down the stigma which stops people seeking help for mental health issues, Dan focusses on driving change by altering society’s perception of mental health issues and those struggling with them.

Dan was diagnosed with Type 2 Bipolar Disorder in 2010. At the height of his mental illness and the struggle it presented, he felt alone and isolated as access to information was not readily or easily available. This led to him feeling vulnerable and fearful as he felt it showed weakness to ask for help or assistance. At the time, Dan knew there would be other people in similar situations, experiencing similar issues who also needed access to helpful information and support. Although a challenging time in his own life, Dan knew if he could openly and honestly share his experiences, knowledge and coping strategies, he would be able to assist others in better managing their own mental health.

His own life experiences and determination to help others is what inspired the creation of The Mental Health Movement and lead to Dan’s further study in Mental Health, Community Services, Mental Health First Aid, Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD), Fitness, Business and Career Development.

Nadeen Hunt

Co-Founder / Operations Manager

my bio

Nadeen is a very hard working, resilient individual. At a young age she tragically lost her father. This sudden loss devastated her and the family. Struggling as a young teenager Nadeen felt lost, alone and isolated.

Through a positive mentor in her grandmother, Nadeen learnt to look at the silver lining and be grateful for the things she did have and the things she was doing. Moving away from her comfort zone at 18 years of age, she started her career in the corporate world and by 21 was a Branch Manager for St George Bank. For years she flourished becoming the best version of herself.

At 21 she had her daughter and her life took a different path. A path of a poor relationship that lacked support, love and affection. Experiencing years of struggle the relationship broke down and she became a single parent. Having to again be resilient and work through another challenge Nadeen found a passion to help others. Using her experiences, passion and skills she worked in customer relations helping individuals, bringing joy to their lives. Nadeen has become an integral part of the Mental Health Movement. She possesses a unique set of skills in understanding people. This goes a long way in understanding our clients needs and objectives, formulating strategies to assist the individual and the company in finding the best version of themselves.

Chris Houston

MHM CONSULTANT & FACILITATOR

my bio

Chris Houston has been a professional sportsman for over 15 years. He played 10 years in the NRL with both the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Newcastle Knights. He also played 3 years overseas in the English Super League for the Widnes Vikings.

Whilst playing at all three clubs Chris was given chances to work in high-pressure, result driven environments. He has been involved in leadership groups in all three clubs and has also had the honor of captaining each team.

During his early years as a sportsman he realised the need to develop himself as a person, finding an identity and purpose through completing a Bachelor of Primary Education. Chris has also studied in the mental health space completing a Mental Health First Aid Accreditation and a Certificate in Counseling.

Throughout his life Chris has faced many changes, challenges and adversities. Some as simple as moving out of home at 17 years old, to moving overseas with a young family and having no support.

During these times Chris’s mental health was challenged. He was forced into a dark place with no light at the end of the tunnel. Through his personal resilience, coping strategies and support networks Chris worked through and overcame these challenges and got back to the best version of himself.

Chris has seen the need for males to be able to start the conversation and seek support, also witnessing what can happen when they don’t. Chris is passionate and driven to be a part of the change the mental health space needs through sharing his education and lived experience.

Cecilia Gilders

Psychologist & Clinical Consultant

my bio

Cecilia is a registered psychologist (Queensland) who specialises in Occupational Health Psychology, Counselling, Organisational Consultancy Services, Rehabilitation and Return to Work services. She is a Member of the Australian Psychological Society.

Cecilia holds a Bachelor of Social Science from Deakin University and a Graduate Diploma of Counselling Psychology from Monash University.

She has undertaken significant on site work in the mining and construction industries, including 20 years of onsite EAP services, critical incident responses, peer support training and debriefing and change management and redundancy support.

Cecilia has run a private psychology practice in Cairns completing EAP, Medicare, worker’s compensation and other private practice counselling work for 20 years. Cecilia has worked for both the Queensland and the Australian Federal Governments as a psychologist and contractor, providing organisational consultancy services to Departments such as Employment and Training, Health and Education.

Brett Connellan

MHM CONSULTANT & FACILITATOR

my bio

Brett Connellan is a young man on a mission. In 2016 he was attacked by a Great White Shark whilst surfing at his local break, in Kiama. That late afternoon on Bombo Beach, Brett was inches from death. He lost three quarters of his quad, and emergency responders on the scene were sure Brett wasn’t going to make it. 

Brett went through a very tough process of rehabilitation, having to learn how to basic things like walk and drive again. During this time, Brett went through many ups and downs and was led to asking himself the tough question of ‘WHY?’.

Three years on, Brett is back surfing and being the best version of himself. He is physically fitter than ever and mentally he has become a powerhouse. Brett’s story is so very powerful and his level of resilience is something that Australians need to hear.

Now trained in the mental health facilitation, Brett is determined to make a difference in mental health space and cannot wait to work with your workplace.

Ashton Sims

MHM CONSULTANT & FACILITATOR

my bio

Ashton Sims has been a professional sportsman for over 17 years in both the NRL (St George Illawarra Dragons, Brisbane Broncos & Nth QLD Cowboys) and English Super League (Warrington Wolves & Toronto Wolfpack).

Ashton enjoyed and thrived in the high-pressure cauldron that Rugby League can be. Added to the leadership group at a young age and enjoyed this responsibility at all the clubs he represented. Ashton has strong family core values; passion, dedication, adaptability, dependability and integrity. These traits have served him well throughout adversities faced as a professional sportsman and he continues to live by them and help others to find their personal values to live by. 

Watching his father get up at 2:30am six days a week, he knew what dedication & sacrifice looked like at a very young age and with dreams to become a professional sportsman, Ashton left home at 17. He was always aware that Rugby League wouldn’t last forever so he equipped himself for life after football gaining qualifications in personal training, leadership and management.  

Being a professional athlete was not always easy. Ashton faced certain difficulties throughout his career including moving away from family and friends, relocating to England and spending large chunks of time in Canada at the end of his career. Being dropped from 1st team honours, injury, early contract release, and making monumental errors on live TV are a few of many adversities Ashton has taken on with a positive attitude and energy to succeed. 

Ashton is determined to make sure he helps create positive culture in your workplace, and an environment where it is ok to struggle, it is ok to show emotion and it is ok to talk about your personal struggles. 

Life Motto: Would the boy you were, be proud of the man you’ve become? 

Debbie Swibel

SUICIDOLOGIST & CLINICAL CONSULTANT/SUPPORT

my bio

Debbie is a suicidologist, a criminologist and practising counsellor and psychotherapist. Debbie believes that education is key to understanding mental health.

An experienced and passionate educator, Debbie is recognised as an industry expert.

Debbie is a trainer and assessor at Lifeline and trains students who wish to volunteer on the phones at Lifeline. Debbie is an accredited mental health response and Mental Health First Aid trainer.

Debbie's presenting style is informative, educational and enjoyable. Debbie supports the approach of drawing on personal strengths and resilience to overcome adversity.

Debbie promotes a lifestyle of health, wellness and wellbeing and encourages and inspires people to be the best they can be.

Ben Higgs

MHM CONSULTANT & FACILITATOR

my bio

Using over 30 years experience living with a mental illness, Ben isn’t your average every day presenter delivering a boring presentation. The real, raw, no bullshit approach to life, what it can throw at us, what we can be presented with, and more importantly how we face it. Ben's focus is on educating and teaching the everyday practice tools we can use so that people no longer have to live in silence with mental illness or poor mental health.

Ben engages with communities coming together for a common cause creating events such as Ratfest, PPP4SPA, Walk it Off and Hitting The Road. Having worked with organisations such as Suicide Prevention Australia and Black Dog institute, In 2016 Ben was invited to the United States National conference on behavioural health and more recently in 2019 a guest speaker at the International Bi Polar Foundation international conference.

Robbie Hardy

MHM CONSULTANT & FACILITATOR

my bio

Robbie has been to dark places far too many times throughout his life. Whilst managing Bipolar Disorder, Robbie has learned one of the best ways to come out of those dark places is by facing your demons and seeking support. 

Robbie once thought vulnerability was weakness, but he has come to realise that it is in fact strength and the more we embrace and manage our struggles, the stronger we will all become. 

Through his knowledge, lived experience and mental health training, Robbie wants to help show people no matter where your headspace is, there is always a way to manage it and work through it. 

Robbie also believes as human beings we are all more resilient than we think and through any life challenge, change or adversity we are not alone.

Vale Danny ‘Spud ’ Frawley

8 September 1963 – 9 September 2019

Mental Health Movement would like to acknowledge and remember our friend, colleague and mental health advocate, Danny ‘Spud’ Frawley for his incredible contribution to our work and for touching the lives of those around him.