Media Release November 9th, 2009 TF4E to Host Mental Health Education Forum UNSW Following very successful Mental Health Education Forums hosted at the University of Wollongong, Maroubra Seals Club and Sutherland Shire, the Topo Foundation for EDUCATION (TF4E) will be holding the last Forum for 2009. Consumer advocates John Brogden, Associate Professor Neil Cole, Fay Jackson and Enrique Topo Rodriguez will speak at a Mental Health Education Forum to be held at the University of NSW on Thursday November 26th at 6.00pm in the CENTRAL LECTURE THEATRE BLOCK (CLTB7), Gate 11 (Botany St.), Kensington. The Forum will be Chaired by Professor Peter Lovibond, Senior Associate Dean, Faculty of Science, University of NSW. The University of NSW Forum is aimed at the entire community: those involved in sports, education, business, health, those suffering from mental illness, those caring for those with mental illness, those who think they may be suffering from mental illness, and those of us who need to understand more about mental illness so we can play our part in destigmatising mental illness once and for all. TF4E s mission is to educate people about mental health awareness, reducing the stigma of mental illness and promoting suicide prevention. The Foundation has addressed around 21,000 people to deliver a message of hope about mental illness so far. It is estimated that between 18% and 22% of the [world] population have or will have a mental illness in their lifetime, and tragically, some 15% of those diagnosed with a mental illness commit suicide, Topo said, By educating everyone about mental health strategies we aim at getting rid of the stigma still attached to it. Discussing mental illness is a priority number one for the whole community. We all need to talk about it and share the pain with those close to us For any enquiries please call Enrique Topo Rodriguez on mobile 0412 403 304 or e-mail to info@TF4E.org Further details about the Topo Foundation for EDUCATION can be found at http://www.TF4E.org SPEAKERS PROFILES CHAIR: Peter Lovibond, Professor, School of Psychology Senior Associate Dean, Faculty of Science Peter Lovibond is an experimental and clinical psychologist who studies human learning and anxiety, with a focus on high-level cognitive processes. He also works on the nature and measurement of depression and anxiety. From 2002-2008 he was Head of the School of Psychology at UNSW. He is a past President of the Australian Association for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, and serves on the Editorial Boards of several international journals in behavioural neuroscience and psychopathology. Associate Professor Neil Cole Neil Cole is Associate Professor in the Monash Medical School. Prior to joining APRC, Neil worked for five years at the Mental Health Research Institute as the Head of the Depression Awareness Research Project developing a model for effectively achieving depression awareness in the community. He also explored the links between creativity and mental illness in people with schizophrenia and has been researching that link at the Alfred Psychiatric Centre since 2005. Neil is a former lawyer, a member of the Victorian State Parliament for over a decade and in the 1990 s, the Victorian Shadow Attorney-General. Neil is an award-winning playwright and wrote the play Topo the Play about Topo s struggles with Bipolar Disorder which was performed at Sydney s Seymour Center in 2007. Neil has had many plays produced in Victoria, NSW and Queensland including: Alive at Williamstown Pier, A Policewoman s Absurdity, Billy Possible, Dr Cade, The Campaign and Personality Games which he co-wrote with Professor Gordon Parker from the Black Dog Institute in Sydney. His more recent plays were The Trial of Adolf Eichmann and The Reunion. His plays written and performed by and for people with mental illnesses include I Could Have Been Carmen, Radio Play, Depression: The Great Debate and Bring on the Carrots. Neil is a passionate consumer advocate for many areas of mental health including speaking regularly in the community about depression. John Brodgen John Brogden is the CEO of the Investment & Financial Services Association of Australia (IFSA), which represents the retail and wholesale funds management, superannuation and life insurance industries. IFSA has over 140 members who are responsible for investing over $1 trillion on behalf of more than ten million Australians. In August 2006 John was appointed CEO of Australia s ninth largest health insurer Manchester Unity, which he successfully merged with HCF in December, 2008. From 2006 to 2009 John was the Chairman of Abacus Australian Mutuals, the body representing Australia s 130 credit unions and building societies. From 1996 to 2005 John was the Member for Pittwater in the NSW Parliament. In 2002, on his 33rd birthday, John was elected Leader of the Opposition the youngest person ever to hold the role. John is the Patron of Lifeline in NSW, Sailability Pittwater, Bilgola Surf Lifesaving Club, Avalon Beach Surf Lifesaving Club and is a member of Furlough House retirement village committee and the Advisory Committee to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology in Sydney. John holds a Master of Public Affairs from the University of Sydney. John is married to Lucy, a Psychologist. They have three children, Flinders, Hugh and Trinity. Fay Jackson B.Crea.Vis. Arts, Dip. Ed. Fay Jackson is the director of Vision In Mind. She offers consultancy in Mental Health in the work place, corporate sector, public services, Non Government Organizations, community, federal and state governments. Fay is a multi award winning national motivational speaker, educator, advocate and voice for mental health. She is regularly engaged to advise the NSW and federal governments, and Non Government Organizations (NGOs), on the state and conditions of mental illness and mental health in the community, services, and workplace. Fay also is proud to be a person with mental illness. She has Bipolar Disorder and refers to herself, with tongue in cheek, as a Psychologically Diverse Citizen or PDC. She also refers to people without mental illness as Psychologically Ordinary Citizens or POCs and laughs at the number of people who come out of the wood work and honestly declare themselves as PDCs if the alternative is to be called a POC. Previous to starting Vision In Mind Fay was in a top management position as the Director of Consumer, Carer and Community Affairs, Mental Health, for a large area health service. In that time she designed and implemented many unique strategies including the creative Communications Strategy which lead to her and the Illawarra Area Health Service winning many awards at a state level. Enrique Topo Rodriguez, ASM After 22 year career playing rugby, ten of those as a Triple Rugby Union International retired in 1987. Topo lived eight years with some strange symptoms including two severe depressive episodes that lasted up to 6 months each. Topo was diagnosed for the first time in 1996 with Bipolar Disorder. In 2004 after a third depressive episode he was diagnosed for second time with Bipolar Disorder type II. Since then Topo has been dedicated to study and learn as much as possible about mental illness and mental health strategies and now shares his knowledge with friends and the community. Topo has become a very enthusiastic Consumer Advocate, at first involved part-time with the Black Dog Institute in online educational programs. Today is completely dedicated to Mental Health Education to the community through the Topo Foundation for EDUCATION, where he is one of the Founders and CEO. TF4E is a charity NGO and a community-based-organisation that targets High Schools, Sporting organisations, workplaces and senior citizens groups. Topo was elected in September 2009 as Board Member of the Mental Health Association NSW Inc.