On 31 July 2022, Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia farewells Kamilaroi/Gomeroi man, Mr Thomas Brideson as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing, mental health, and suicide prevention, and welcomes the appointment of proud Yirrganydji woman, Mrs Sarah Szydzik.
Mr Brideson was involved in the establishment of the organisation in the lead up to the launch in late March of 2020 and was appointed CEO of Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia in April 2020.
Under the leadership of Mr Brideson, the organisation has recently been successful in obtaining a further three-year funding agreement to deliver initiatives relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social and emotional wellbeing, mental health, and suicide prevention.
Mr Brideson has expressed his thanks to the organisation, and those involved in supporting him as Chief Executive Officer.
“I give my appreciation to all who have supported me during the past 2.4 years as Chief Executive Officer and in the establishment of GDPSA, particularly with navigating the challenges faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am very proud of the achievements which have been pivotal to the success of the organisation, and I leave satisfied with my effort that has built a sound platform for organisational growth moving forward.
“The experience gained over the past few years have been rewarding and I look forward to drawing on these as I contemplate my future contribution to improving the mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“From my perspective there is nothing more urgent than to take steps to reduce the alarming rates of distress and service usage at the pointy end of care across all areas of health and human services and to comprehensively address accountabilities for these care pathways.
“This can only be achieved with the active engagement of those most affected.” says Mr Brideson.
Mr Brideson will watch the future developments of the organisation and will continue to influence the mental health area through several leadership roles across organisations and government, including his continuing role as a part time Deputy Commissioner of the Mental Health Commission of New South Wales.
GDPSA Chair, Professor Helen Milroy said, “On behalf of the board and staff of GDPSA I want to thank Tom for all his incredible work in getting us this far on the journey and look forward to working closely with Tom in the future.”
GDPSA wish Mr Brideson all the best in his future endeavours and look forward to his continual contribution in achieving of the highest attainable standard of social and emotional wellbeing, mental health, and suicide prevention outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Mrs Szydzik will commence in her new role as CEO of Gayaa Dhuwi (Proud Spirit) Australia on Monday 25 July 2022.