Meet the Team

Mitch McPherson
Mitch McPhersonFounder
“In 2013 I was working in the trade industry as a glazier. But when my younger brother Ty took his own life, I decided to turn the devastating loss into something constructive, and founded SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY.

What started as me sharing my story has now grown into a registered not-for-profit that works hard to raise mental health awareness and reduce stigma. I have now spoken at over 600 events, including school groups, workplaces and sporting clubs, and I am dedicated to spreading the message that nothing is so bad that you can’t talk about it.

I believe my story resonates with many people. People who, like my family at the time, might not think mental health is a priority or that they will ever be affected by it.

My vision is that SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY will become a national charity, with a focus on delivering programs in schools and sporting to increase awareness and remove the stigma surrounding mental health.”

Julia Gandy
Julia GandyProject Officer
“I’ve been in mental health research for more than 7 years now, working on topics like youth and family engagement in mental health, youth suicide prevention and mental health literacy.

I think it’s so important that we all have a basic knowledge of how to support our own mental health, as well as others’. This is why I’m so excited to be working at Stay ChatTY, specifically on our Schools Program – the more people we can equip with mental health knowledge, the better chance we have of intervening early and having mentally healthier communities.”

Katharine Pullen
Katharine PullenProject Officer
“Hi my name is Kat, I have worked as a Registered Nurse for five years in mental health and other areas of nursing practice. One thing I have learnt in my career, is that anyone can experience a mental health issue. I have nursed a lot of patients, but I have also worked alongside many doctors and nurses, and know family members and friends, that have all struggled with their mental health. That is why it is so important to teach the community about mental health and let people know they’re not alone. This is why I joined SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY, to help promote psychological well-being, emotional health and physical well-being in the community. I am excited to work on the Stay ChatTY School Program, to help spread positive messages about mental health and encourage people to talk about how they’re feeling”.
James Rice
James RiceProject Officer
“I am an accredited exercise physiologist who enjoys seeing people reach their potential through exercise and the support and connection it offers. I am also a strength and conditioning coach at the North Hobart Football Club, where I deliver programs to increase player performance on and off the field.

I am passionate about developing not only good footballers, but great young men who in turn become valued members of the Tasmanian community. My interest in developing young people has lead me to Stay ChatTY, and I’m so excited to be delivering about mental health and resilience to sporting clubs across the state.”

Kylea Aldred
Kylea AldredProject Facilitator
“I have worked for over ten years facilitating programs that build resilience, mental health awareness and self-esteem. During this time I have encountered hundreds of people with stories of struggle, isolation and triumph.

Life is full of mountains and valleys and so often we make choices when we are in a valley that impact our lives negatively. We can’t see the broader view, or whole picture when we’re in a valley, but engaging in conversations about mental health will enable us to push through the valleys and onto the mountains where the view is broad and filled with hope.

Mental health is for everyone, and the more we understand our bodies, our experiences and our brains, the healthier we will be. Being strong mentally requires a community and I love that SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY is providing the opportunity for communities to form and develop language and understanding around mental health and how we can be proactive rather than reactive.”

Sophie Hunt
Sophie HuntProject Facilitator
“Hi, I’m Sophie and I come to the Stay Chatty team with a background in education, program coordination and delivery, primarily working with families and young people.
I am so excited to have the opportunity to work with a passionate, dedicated and dynamic team to spread these important messages and educate people in regional and rural areas about mental health.
I spent many years living interstate studying and working but returned to Tasmania about 6 years ago.

As a teacher and practitioner I believe that we need to focus on education being holistic and inclusive, creating a culture and community where people are more informed and aware when it comes to mental health and as a result are able to reach out to one another, start conversations and offer support.”

Tash Cloak
Tash CloakCommunity Engagement Officer
“Until arriving into this amazing Team, I have spent most of my professional life as a lawyer and small business management. I gained so many invaluable learnings in both these spaces, however, I also acquired some “armour” in attempting to avoid vulnerability and personal exposure. From the outside, it probably looked like I had it “all sorted”; on the inside, it was often a very different story!
At the end of 2016 I lost my best friend, my Dad to suicide. Amongst the devastation I recognised wearing “armour” had become my ongoing coping mechanism in “protecting” myself from emotional exposure. In reality it was keeping me isolated from connection and support. It became my highest priority to find a different way of thinking … and living!

My mission as part of the Team is to share my experiences and learnings in challenge as well as lead through connection and kindness – these two simple yet significant tools are game changers!

I love being a part of making someone smile, helping others to see we are never alone or assisting with the slightest shift in a perspective that opens someone up to feeling like things can get better.”

Joel Berry
Joel BerryYouth Advisor
I come to the team here at SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY with a background in social work and a real passion for community development, youth engagement and mental health promotion.

My mission here at SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY is to engage, collaborate and empower young people to get involved in mental health. Young people are so important to the work we do here at Stay ChatTY and we want them to be confident in their ability to contribute to the world around them and take on a leading role in creating, developing and facilitating programs around mental health promotion.
In my downtime, self-care is massive for me. Yoga, walking, listening to music, kicking the footy, spending time with friends and family or reading a book are all things I like to do to give myself a break.

I’m super excited to be working as the Youth Advisor here at SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY!