First NT Mental Health Week Awards Ceremony Held in Central Australia

First NT Mental Health Week Awards Ceremony Held in Central Australia

This was the first year that the NT Mental Health Coalition held a Mental Health Awards Ceremony for Central Australia.

The event which took place on October 30th was opened by Traditional Owner Benedict Stevens at Alice Springs Desert Park. 45 people were in attendance as Alice Springs Town Council Mayor Matt Paterson handed out the awards. 

There was a diverse spread of nominees from the Barkly and remote Central Australia regions. One of the award winners Frank Curtis was interviewed by PAW media about his work supporting the social and emotional wellbeing of individuals and communities in a range of roles throughout his career.

Geoff Radford, CEO for the Northern Territory Mental Health Coalition MC’d the event with Anne Gawen, Chair of the NT Mental Health Coalition board delivering a speech. 

The selection panel was made up of representatives from NT Government Department of Health, NT Primary Health Network, NT Lived Experience Network and the NT Mental Health Coalition.

The following 5 winners were announced and recognised for their outstanding achievements in the mental health sector: 

MHACA – Leadership in Lived Experience Award

MHACA (Mental Health Association of Central Australia) were recognised for empowering people through the development of a Lived Experience Workforce Development Framework and establishing a Lived Experience Advisory Group. Building on their earlier work promoting peer work in the Territory, MHACA collaborated with program participants, stakeholders, and CDU, to formalize a Framework to steer the organisation towards the goal of 100% peer staff in the Drop-In Centre and Activities Programs. 

FRANK CURTIS  – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social & Emotional Wellbeing Award

Mr. Curtis has been instrumental in providing support across rural and remote communities for many years.  He is recognised for his deep capacity for listening, his compassion, and his long-term commitment to people from all walks of life. His outstanding work in the justice system has helped re-engage young men in training and employment opportunities and connecting them back to Country and culture with a strong focus on mental health and wellbeing support.  This award recognises his lifetime achievements through his long standing and deep commitment to the social and emotional wellbeing of his people.


Shane Gahan was recognised for his facilitation of a safe and confident learning environment for the students in his classroom.  Shane’s focus on safety creates a space where students can talk about issues impacting their mental health and wellbeing.  He focusses on building the confidence of his students and providing a supportive learning environment where people feel empowered to be themselves, and to seek support when they need it.

• STRONGER FAMILIES TEAM – ANYINGINYI HEALTH – Integration and Collaborative Practice Award

In collaboration with a range of organisations this team produced culturally appropriate activities for participants, including a Women’s Cultural Camp delivering two and a half days of social and emotional wellbeing activities in partnership with the Tennant Creek women’s shelter, Catholic Care NT, and Indy Kindy among other services. Activities such as this improve service delivery for families in need and support cohesive collaboration across organisations for the benefit of the whole community.

SUB-ACUTE MENTAL HEALTH FACILITY – Innovation in Work Practice Award

This organisation was recognised for making changes in work practice that have allowed them to increase the holistic nature of the service they offer, with activities that have brought about positive change including:

  • Increased availability of interpreters for Aboriginal people
  • Implementing an Aboriginal Health Worker position to support culturally safe care and provide advice to the medical team
  • Facilitation of Ngangkari visits for people using their service
  • Supporting placements for students to increase their exposure to community mental health services

For more information about Mental Health Week and to view our photo galleries visit:

Mental health week is important to not only help raise awareness and reduce stigma around mental health, but also an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of professionals that strive for excellence in the mental health sector. 

Congratulations to all of the nominee’s and award winners for your innovation and excellence in caring for others and helping to improve the wellbeing of Territorians.

Northern Territory Mental Health Coalition

NTMHC is the peak body for community managed mental health services across the Northern Territory. We work in collaboration with a wide network of organisations, people with lived experience, their families and supporters across the NT to advocate to improve the mental health and wellbeing of Territorians.

Please include the following crisis support services for any story regarding mental health or suicide: 

Lifeline: 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
beyondblue: 1300 22 4636

More information on safely reporting on mental illness or suicide can be found at:


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