This year’s Matthew Campbell Memorial Evening was titled “Mind Matters: An exploration of issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health.” The event was held online on Tuesday the 22nd of September via zoom. The evening featured talks by three guest speakers and a panel Q and A. 

Leilani Darwin, Head of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lived Experience Centre at the Black Dog Institute was the first guest speaker to present. Leilani spoke about her work in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention. She delivered an incredibly engaging and informative presentation that was rich in valuable resources for up-and-coming healthcare workers. 

Dr Emma Adams, a psychiatrist specialising in perinatal mental health, delivered a presentation on perinatal mental health in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Dr Adams spoke about her own lived experiences growing up as an Aboriginal woman. Her presentation was powerful in demonstrating the historical factors that continue to impact upon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health. 

Dr Rebecca Davison, a Drug and Alcohol Registrar from St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, was the final speaker to present. Dr Davison’s presentation reflected on the many factors that impact upon drug and alcohol use amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the need for holistic, culturally safe healthcare in this area.

The event finished with a panel Q and A where the guest speakers were able to answer registrants’ questions on a variety of topics. This included the challenges they face working in mental health, how they keep connected to culture while navigating a white system, how to start conversations about mental health with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, and what we can do as future health professionals to help improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health. 

Overall, the night was a huge success and we have received such great feedback from staff and students following the event. While we were not able to deliver the in person event we had originally planned for, holding the event online allowed us to have guest speakers present from interstate and students and staff attend from across Victoria. We are very grateful to our three amazing guest speakers who volunteered their time and provided us with their knowledge and wisdom. We would like to thank everyone who assisted us in organising the event and all those who attended on the night. 

Thank you to everyone who entered the Paddle Prize this year. We were very impressed with the quality of all entries. We would like to extend our congratulations to this year’s Paddle Prize winner, Vicky Xu, and our runner-ups, Ashleigh Laird and Meghan Taylor. 

Arrabella King and Keisha Nash

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Representatives