Paul is one of the founding members of the Stay ChatTY board, having first met Mitch through a colleague in 2013. Paul recalls that Mitch had experienced enormous family suffering and loss and it was all still very raw but it was evident from the start that Mitch was driven to turn his loss into a movement. Paul was immediately drawn to Mitch’s positivity and drive to make a difference.
The charity ‘SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY’ had only recently been formed with family members, but Mitch freely admitted he didn’t have a full grasp around what was required to operate and run a charity.
It’s human nature to want to help, particularly after hearing Mitch’s heartbreaking story. Paul brings his expertise in accounting to the committee, helping with regulatory, financial and tax related matters.
Paul works in professional services, an industry known to be fast paced and high intensity, Paul recognised that there was a growing need to address mental health in the workplace and community – “There were industries that were typical for not talking about how you feel, with a culture of ‘keeping in within’. Mitch was different and he openly shared his emotions and talked about how he was feeling. This was refreshing and provided me inspiration to want to be part of a movement to change the past embedded culture”.
In the early days, Stay ChatTY just wanted to sell a bunch of stickers and spread the word around. Little did we know that it would change the fabric of Tasmania around our attitudes to both mental health and suicide. We also didn’t know that the Tasmanian community would embrace the charity and support us the way it did. Through generous donations and sponsorship the charity has become more sophisticated in its messaging, governance and delivery.
Paul quickly realised that Stay ChatTY had an opportunity to really change the face of mental health in Tassie for the better. Stay ChatTY has since grown to include additional team members across multiple programs and initiatives.
“The incredibly powerful thing for me is that Mitch hasn’t changed and neither has the original intentions of the charity. Today the charity still pays homage to the early days, it still has many of the original people involved and is continuing to reach so many people across our community through exceptional programs. I feel privileged to be part of SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY journey and am certain it has and is making a huge difference to many people’s lives”.