Paula Murray – President
Paula is the National Program Manager for Asthma Australia’s Community Support Program, which works to support people with asthma and their carers. People are supported through attending education sessions, or being referred by health care professionals for ongoing support to improve their asthma control. The Community Support Program has worked alongside Asthma Australia’s 1800 ASTHMA Helpline service for many years, and Paula is very interested in contributing to a quality assured, evidence-based helpline service for the community, and the people delivering the services.
Paula has been on the Helplines Australia committee for several years, was Vice President in 2015 and was recently nominated as President for 2016. Paula is keen to see the organisation grow to fulfil its mission and to provide vital support for helpline managers, which in turn benefits the wider community.
Helene Strawbridge –Treasurer
With a background in the corporate sector, Helene joined GriefLine Community and Family Services Inc. in 1995 to contribute to community care, primarily through bereavement telephone counselling. Helene feels strongly that the rewards of being available to callers who have experienced loss and grief have far outweighed any time commitment she has made to GriefLine’s counselling and the development programs.
Helene was invited to join the Helplines Australia committee and took up the opportunity because of the support it offers to members of Australian telephone and counselling helplines. As well as being Treasurer, Helene feels that in belonging to this active group, she is committed to broader community care and development.
Kathy Wells – Secretary
Kathy is the Senior Manager and a bereavement counsellor for GriefLine Community and Family Services Inc., a not-for-profit organisation providing Australia-wide counselling and support services at no charge. Over 200 volunteers support the delivery of GriefLine’s services and programs, which include a helpline that operates seven days a week.
Annmaree Wilson – Committee Member and Public Officer
Annmaree is Senior Clinical Psychologist for the Bush Support Services (BSS). She completed her undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in psychology at the University of New South Wales, later completing her PhD at the University of New England. She has worked extensively in rural and remote settings, mainly in the area of child, adolescent and family work, and is particularly interested in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She is clinically responsible for the management of the team of BSS’s psychologists and enjoys the diversity of work provided by the service, particularly the telephone counselling and running workshops. She has been developing a best practice manual for use by BSS psychologists and is interested in raising the research profile of the programme.
Annmaree joined the Helplines Australia committee because of her concern about the lack of support services for people in rural and remote parts of Australia. It is her strong belief that Helplines Australia is particularly well-placed to coordinate and promote a wide range of accessible services.
John-Paul Kristensen – Committee Member
John-Paul began his career in Melbourne as a registered nurse, working mainly in oncology and palliative care. In 2001 he left nursing and moved to Queensland, quickly finding work within the busy call centre of MBF. It was there that his love of telephone-based work began. After leaving MBF he worked for a year doing structured telephone interviews with the Queensland Institute of Medical Research, followed by five years as a counsellor and later manager of the Palliative Care Helpline in Brisbane. John-Paul then took on the role of Helpline Manager with Cancer Council Queensland for two years, before moving into an advocacy role as the CEO of Palliative Care Queensland for another five years. In June 2015 he accepted the role of Manager of the National Dementia Helpline at Alzheimer’s Australia NSW and subsequently moved to Sydney. The National Dementia Helpline is funded by the Commonwealth Government and is an Australia-wide service that receives more than 34,000 contacts per year.
Given his experiences as a helpline manager and time as the CEO of a not-for-profit organisation, John-Paul felt that his knowledge and skills may be useful to the Management Committee of Helplines Australia, so he made the decision to join the Committee. He is very much looking forward to getting to know more about Helplines Australia’s many members and doing what he can to be an advocate for the Association as well as for all helplines across Australia.