“We are committed to reducing suicide and empowering Australians with the tools to improve their mental health”
Mind Blank exists because every 3 hours in Australia more than one person will take their life by way of suicide (ABS, 2017), of this, 15 more twelve to seventeen year olds make an attempt (Orygen, 2017).
Using innovative and mindful methods we are committed to generating higher awareness on the importance of good mental health practices, with integrity in the heart of our programs.
Our story started with Ally Kelly who founded the business as as one of Australia's mental health charities in 2011. The motivation behind Mind Blank stemmed from her first-hand experiencing the pains of a loved one suffering from depression and suicidality.
Our team adds value into young people’s lives by including them in a creative process to empower individuals to be proactive about reducing the risk of youth suicide.”
Our legacy is to create sustainable community action; we do this by striving to help contribute to and informing a current body of research to support mental health promotion in Australia.
This is a gesture to honour and pay the respect to families who have lost loved ones to suicide.
Mind Blank Programs
Mind Blank is recognised Australia wide for mental health awareness and education through delivering innovative programs in schools, communities, and workplaces.
We advocate a holistic and balanced approach through strategic partnerships and collaborations. Our programs aim to reduce the risk of suicide in rural and urban Australia.
Using professional actors we can showcase story’s based on lived experience. This means that we can capture realistic life-like portrayals of what is live to struggle with mental health issues. Having an MC in the casting mix allows for control of the action. They captivate the audience in trying to problem-solve alternate pathways for the characters. Giving them the power to visually see the scenes play out.
There are many ways you can help Mind Blank. Some ideas include in-kind support offers, monthly sponsorship packages, organising a fundraiser or even one off donations. We welcome your ideas and support to continue our growth to impact mental health outcomes for young people. Any donation above $2.00 can be used as a tax deduction.
Mind Blank is a health promotion charity, ABN 18 168 485 176, working along side service providers and local health districts. We are registered as being a Deductible Gift Recipient by the Australian Charities Not-for-Profit Commission.
Jacqueline is an experienced Board Director and former CEO. She holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA), a range of vocational qualifications, and is currently completing her last two units for her Bachelor of Laws (Honours) with QUT. Jacqueline has undertaken a range of volunteer work throughout her life from being a foster carer to training with the International Labor Organisation in South East Asia. Jacqueline is passionate about reducing the risk of suicide and dealing with mental health issues having lost her son Dillon in 2015 and is particularly interested in the innovative ways Mind Blank is able to engage with young people about mental health.
Mark is an experienced company director with abackground in a range of NFP Board roles over the last decade. Much of this experience has been in small NFPs where his charter was it improve the commercial and governance outcomes to support the development of a sustainable organisation.
Mark is a confident and articulate leader and think both strategically and operationally. He his a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors course.
However most importantly his is passionate about Mental Health issues in our country and as a father of three Teen or near teenagers
Role Director legal
Maggie Leung BCom LLB
Maggie has been a director of Mind Blank since September 2017.
Maggie utilises her legal expertise to help Mind Blank maintain and improve its corporate governance and manage its compliance risks.
Maggie is an experienced senior lawyer with extensive in-house corporate experience, and prior to that, she practised corporate and commercial law at a large law firm in Sydney.
As a mother, Maggie is keenly aware of the pressures which young people face and the impact social media has on their self esteem. Maggie strongly believes that Mind Blank’s programs will help to foster open and honest conversations among young people and their peers and their carers about mental health and help build their resilience.
Ally Kelly is the Chief Executive Officer & Founder of Mind Blank Ltd. She has led the Health Promotion Charity through nine years of service. In 2017 her efforts were recognised in winning the Mental Health Matters Award for Mental Health Promotion, and in 2019 she was presented with the Mental Health Services Award for Mental Illness Prevention.
Ally is on a mission to lead an empowered journey. Using her story of lived experience she will take you on a creative adventure sharing insight on how she was able to awaken her inner voice.
Ally specialises in forum theatre, public speaking, and collaborating with service provider organisations to provoke grass-roots change. As a founder of a small grass-roots charity, she has found that Australia lacks the body of research to show evidence in the long-term benefits of arts and health programs running in the community. Through research and program evaluation she aspires to support community arts programs and grassroots initiatives make a more sustainable impact in Australia.
Ali is an award winning actor & director specialising in the effectiveness of theatre as a tool for education, engagement and social change. Ali’s theatre experience includes: actor, director, musician, scriptwriter, choreographer, lighting designer & stage manager. Ali is the Artistic Director for ‘Acting With Ali’ a drama, dance and music school operating out of Queanbeyan. She is also an Associate Artist with Rebus Theatre working on several projects that use theatre to insight social change. Ali is delighted to be part of the MINDBLANK team.
Dimitrios is an actor, writer and seasoned performer with a background in community development and counselling. Dimitrios has acting, dancing and clowning experience from Greece, Brazil and Australia. He was part of a multidisciplinary team of artists in Brazil developing a play and theatrical interventions about bullying. He has also formed a youth collective there including actors, clowns, poets and musicians that performed in various community spaces.
Dimitrios has experience in writing and screen writing. He was one of the protagonists of the play All My Sons with Hellenic Theatre in Sydney. Dimitrios has been an active member of Out of the Box Playback Theatre for 3 years including theatre performances and tours. He has also other performance experience and skills such as MCing, magic, dancing and story-telling
Dimitrios is passionate about using arts and theatre for mental health, disability and community development. He believes in the power of art, story-telling and theatre as a holistic strength-based approach to work on challenging complex social issues such as that of suicide, mental health, social isolation and other.
Ioulia Stepanova is a Belgian clinical psychologist, drama therapist, performer and improviser with Ukrainian roots. She is passionate about raw human creativity and is addicted to travel and personal growth. She believes strongly that using our imagination and play to create new narratives can help us heal, grow and sprinkle every day with a little magic.
Amy Ehsman is a freelance actor and performer based in the ACT. Recently performed in Improvisation shows by ImproACT, Lightbulb and regularly performs with Troubador.
Lou is an accomplished improvisational actor whose performance creditsinclude winner of the Canberra International Improv Challenge (2015), finalistin the National Theatre sports Championships (2016) and has performed with someof the top names in improvisation, including a duo with internationally acclaimed improviser David Razowsky. Lou teaches improvisation to beginner and advanced students and has directed and performed in a range of unscripted shows, from comedy games to full length improvised plays and musicals.
Lou combines her improvisation skillswith over 15 years experience in change management, corporate communications, talent management, training and coaching. Lou has worked across the private, public and non-profit sectors for companies of all shapes and sizes. Her clients include Westpac, Origin Energy and Lifeline as well as various Government Departments.
Lou holds a Bachelor in Communication and Media, Prince 2 Certification and Certificate IV in Training and Assessment
Janine is an experienced senior leader with an extensive background in human resources management and people strategies and a track record partnering senior leaders to deliver on people strategies and transformation agendas. Her key strengths include partnering leaders with culture change, organisational development and change management initiatives.
Janine is a graduate Australian Institute Company Directors (GAICD), a certified member of the Australian Institute Human Resources (CAHRI) and holds a Masters in Leadership and Post Graduate qualifications in Human Resources Management, Commerce and Organisational Change. Janine practices yoga and has recently completed yoga teacher training course.
Janine’s interest in Mind Blank has come about from her lived experience of the devastating impacts of youth suicide when her son Tom unexpectantly died at age 20.
“As you can imagine, the suicide of my son Tom has profoundly impacted and changed our lives forever. Looking back, I don’t know why it didn’t cross my mind that one of my children could be at risk. If I thought about it all, I would have said that Tom had everything to live for, he was about to commence his dream career, he was fit, talented, loved by many, the world at his feet. He did not have a history with mental ill health. Our tragedy has taken me down a path to better understand the complexity and insidious nature of mental illness and to do what I can to contribute to the saving of young lives.
The Mind Blank model which targets early prevention for youths resonates with me as a proactive solution and I am pleased to join its board of Directors and work with Ally and the team”. ~ Janine.
Sarah has worked within the arts, community, entertainment, well-being and business sectors in Australia and internationally. She has managed children's performing arts programs in Melbourne with over 100 children and 15 staff. She’s worked in developmental contexts from the United Nations to the largest citizen journalism project in Asia, India Unheard. She was the founder of Happy from the Inside, a Melbourne based organisation providing creative arts & wellbeing programs for asylum seeker and refugee children. She is a qualified primary school teacher who is passionate about arts as a tool for change. She has experience in performing, writing, speaking & creative entrepreneurship.
Since studying acting in the late 1980's Graeme has worked on numerous stage, screen and radio projects. His studies in Clown and Commedia dell'arte led him to also work throughout Asia, Europe and the Middle East as a street performer. A commitment to social change propelled him into Milkcrate Theatre (theatre for people who have experienced homelessness) in 2001 as one of its founding members and since then he has performed in and helped devise countless Forum theatre shows. He believes Forum theatre to be a powerful tool for driving positive change in individuals, groups, and society as a whole. Graeme is an accomplished teacher and workshop facilitator and has run classes and workshops in stage and screen acting, improvisation, clown, mask, radio theatre and puppetry.
Yael moved from Israel to Sydney about 5 years. She has extensive training and over 15 years of experience in Drama, movement and theatre-based therapy. Her formal education includes B.A. in education followed by therapy and dyadic (Mother/Child) treatment studies. She worked with both private and governmental foundations, helping varied populations such as children with emotional needs, mentally ill, youth at risk and others, ranging from young (Year K) children to adolescents.
In her other career, Yael has more than 25 years of international experience in acting and directing. She has been practicing various forms of theatre, mainly “Playback theatre”, performing to a wide range of audiences in NSW and overseas.
"Stephen has been performing professionally for over twenty years in theatre and film.
He has extensive training in improvisation and physical theatre.
Based in Brisbane, Stephen can be seen treading the boards in musicals, plays and a variety of newly developed works.
He is also the face of constipation relief in Australia for the brand, Coloxyl.
Stephen has always been passionate about mental health and wellbeing and he is thrilled to join the Mind Blank team to promote safe practice methods, through the arts."
"Mark has 10 years C Level experience in Consumer Products where he has grown businesses and saved them, working with some of the world’s leading companies and brands such as Disney, Magnum, Monopoly, Bailey’s and many more.
Originally from the UK, he lived and worked in London for 15 years before moving to Australia in 2011 to launch the Australian operation for Winning Moves Games - and to launch a Sydney version of the Monopoly board game. He then ran a confectionery company, Kinnerton Australia for 7 years before his last role running a cleaning products and franchising business. He is currently setting up a business consultancy practice, The Business Doctor, to help businesses under duress.
Mark understands the importance of mental health through his own experience. He has previously served as a Non-Executive Director on the Sydney based Top Blokes Foundation advising on the commercial viability of projects."
Adrian is internationally recognized as an expert in Business Strategy, M&A and Exec Leadership from his 15+ years working for some of the largest corporations in the world. His extensive experience covers strategy, leadership, M&A and Workplace Wellness. Having suffered mental and physical health decline due to pushing himself and burning out, Adrian decided to become a qualified coach and personal trainer so he could learn the skills to fix himself and to help others do the same. He now dedicates a large part of his time to help social change and awareness in the area of mental health and well being, drawing on both his personal and professional experiences to be the best authentic leader he can.
Role: Mind Blank Performance Coordinator
Janine has been a Director and the Secretary of Mind Blank since March 2015 - March 2019. Janine drives compliance and regulatory process within the Mind Blank business.
Janine is active in the operations of the business casting performers, compiling evaluations and disseminating information to Board and team.
Janine lost her son to suicide in 2008 and since then has voluntarily worked tirelessly in the mental health sector. Janine was a founding member of the Western Sydney Suicide Prevention and Support Network based in Penrith, where she held the position of secretary for a number of years.
Janine has help establish two Suicide Bereavement support in Penrith and Richmond.
Role: Creative Team
Lara is a Sydney based actor and performance maker. She is a founding member of Little Spoon Theatre Co. and with them has performed in "Where's My Money", "Tiger Country", and "Stitching", and last year produced the sell out season of "Danny and The Deep Blue Sea".
Over the last ten years she has performed with New Theatre, The Street Theatre, ABitOnTheSide, Stage Debris, and has devised and developed work with Lace Balloon, Earthcrosser Company, Elbow Theatre, Stage Juice, and paperweight productions. She has studied various techniques in Sydney, New York, and Glasgow. She's involved with Ninefold, an ensemble who train together in the Suzuki Method, and will be performing Antigone with them in 2016. Last year she was involved in several independent short films, and appeared in an episode of the new hit web series "Starting from... now!".
Lara works as a professional roleplayer with several organisations, is studying her Masters of Applied Linguistics, and has just taken up netball after an 18 year hiatus. Lara has been part of the MindBlank Creatives since early 2014.
Role: Creative Team
Neisha is a young and vibrant physical theatre and circus entertainer whose performance style blends a unique mix of physical performance and character hilarity. She enjoys the genuineness of performance and endeavours to make her work entertaining, fun and completely unforgettable! She is as comfortable high in sky hanging people from her neck as she is balancing on one foot and juggling knives! Neisha’s other physical skills include juggling a range of objects, spanish web, slack rope, MCing, comedy and she performs dare devil stunts like the neck hang of destruction and playing her ukulele upside down in a tank full of water!
Neisha graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications (Theatre and Media) in Australia and holds a Diploma of Circus Arts from the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology in New Zealand. She has worked for many companies and festivals such as The Hoopla Festival in Darling Harbour in Sydney, The Flying Kiwi Circus, Circus Aotearoa and the Kidsfest Festival in New Zealand, Merrigong Theatre Company, Circus Monoxide, Viva la gong festival, Half-High Circus and Circus Wow in Wollongong, Arts Projects Australia in Adelaide, The West Australian Ballet, The Tasmanian Circus Festival, Free Associations production of The Nutcracker, and The Circus Proms series with New Zealand’s Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. She was featured in the New Zealand Geographic magazine, on an episode of New Zealand’s hippest show Pacific Beat Street and performed for over 30,000 people in Christchurch’s annual Santa Parade.
Jon Rex Williams
Jon Rex Williams
Jon has been performing improvised shows for adults and children for almost20 years. He's starred in multiple shows at the Sydney & Melbourne Comedy Festivals as well as performing in theatres across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Singapore, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Over the years, he has appearedon the ABC (Gruen Transfer, Hungry Beast, The Chaser’s CNNNN), Network Ten (Good News Week, Micro Nation & Water Rats) and the Comedy Channel (Stand Australia) as well as in numerous commercials.
He has a Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary School, Drama) and is currently the education manager for Impro Australia anddirector of the Theatresports Schools Challenge which involves students from over 100 high schools across Sydney, Wollongong & the Central Coast.
In the corporate realm, Jon has performed and run workshops for Woolworths, Qantas, Coca Cola, ING, AMP, Boral, Telstra, Australia Post, the Department ofFair Trading and more, as well as role plays for the Department of Defence and Westmead hospital.