Phoenix Australia is expert in trauma-related mental health and wellbeing. For 25 years, Phoenix Australia has been Australia’s National Centre of Excellence in Posttraumatic Mental Health and an internationally recognised leader in the field. The team is committed to driving forward the mental health agenda both at home and abroad.
The Chair of Phoenix Australia is Janine Kirk AM, a Centre for Optimism member and a distinguished Australian. You may recall our Janine as an inspiring co-host of the conversation with Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp. One of Janine's most inspiring quotes is "Without faith we have nothing, without hope there is nothing and without love we are nothing. Optimistic leaders create the conditions where faith, hope and love can thrive."
In this event, Janine is joined Professor David Forbes and Sharon Bown.
Professor David Forbes is the Director of Phoenix Australia and a clinical psychologist with many years’ experience in the assessment and treatment of mental health problems following trauma. David was the Chair of the Working Party for the inaugural NHMRC-approved Australian Guidelines for the Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and is the Vice Chair of the PTSD Guidelines for the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.
Sharon Bown served as a Nursing Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force for 16 years. She deployed to Timor-Leste in 2000 and again in 2004, where she narrowly escaped death twice – first in a near-fatal helicopter crash and again during the surgery that followed. Having fought for her life, Sharon took on the colossus of the Australian Defence Force to overcome her injuries and to fight to save her career. She exceeded all expectations and in 2008 was appointed to command in a theatre of war – Afghanistan.
With a Bachelor of Nursing, a Bachelor of Psychological Science and a unique lived experience of service, sacrifice and the journey of continuing to live beyond trauma, Sharon demonstrates valuable insight into the welfare and healthcare needs of those adversely affected by their service. Having cared for Australian Defence Force personnel and their families in Australia and overseas, Sharon is a passionate advocate within the field of Military and Veterans’ Health and has a keen interest in the strategies that can transform personal trauma into personal growth.
Sharon is the award-winning author of One Woman's War and Peace: a nurse's journey in the Royal Australian Air Force. She is a Fellow of the Australian College of Nursing, a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and serves as a Member of the Council of the Australian War Memorial, National Vice-President of the Air Force Association and is a proud Ambassador for Phoenix Australia – Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health.
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