Overview

Growing evidence suggests that the impacts of isolation, loneliness, transition, grief and loss are often best mitigated by meaningful human connection.

At Social Health Australia, human connection is the basis for the kind of social-emotional-existential support we’re helping make available in a wide range of settings, from the Australian Royal Navy to your local neighbourhood house.

Our work draws inspiration from spiritual companioning, the time-honoured art of compassionate listening, re-imagined as non-theistic, and evolving as a new way of mediating meaning, holding hope and building resiliency in times of crisis.

We are committed to ensuring that this support becomes increasingly accessible for anyone who may need it, regardless of age, culture, disability, gender identity, or belief system.

” MAN ISN’T DESTROYED BY SUFFERING;  HE’S DESTROYED BY SUFFERING WITHOUT MEANING ”
Viktor Frankl

” MAN ISN’T DESTROYED BY SUFFERING;  HE’S DESTROYED BY SUFFERING WITHOUT MEANING ”
Viktor Frankl

Our Patron

Hugh Mackay (OAM)

Australia’s pre-eminent social researcher, Hugh Mackay has authored 20 books and been awarded five honorary doctorates and an Order of Australia medal. Hugh has also emerged as our country’s leading kindness advocates. His latest book, The Kindness Revolution, makes the case for human decency as the key to solving a wide range of problems impacting us today. Social Health is honoured to have Hugh inform and inspire our work.

Our Executive Team

JOE SEHEE, EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Joe has a providing sub-clinical social-emotional-existential in a wide range of contexts including support including serving for four years as a lay chaplain at the University of San Francisco. A Peabody Award-winning journalist, Joe is founder of the Green Burial Council, director of Earth Funerals, chairman of the Bendoc Cemetery Trust and a senior fellow at the Environmental Leadership Program.

TERRY TEOH, SECRETARY

An accomplished business executive with strong commercial, managerial and organisational experience, along with intrinsic knowledge of strategy/governance. While his early career involved Terry working with large corporates, he has begun serving on boards of purpose-driven organisations, including one that has brought forward Australia’s first urban co-housing development.

VANESSA CROSLAND, TREASURER

Vanessa is Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants ANZ and the Tax Institute of Australia. In addition to having extensive experience problem solving and bringing together diverse stakeholders, has a deep passion for horses, sport and mentoring young people.

STEPHANIE MCKELVIE, DIRECTOR

A junior doctor currently working in Central Australia. In 2020 she founded and directed Conversation In Isolation, a health student initiative aimed at combatting loneliness during the COVID-19 lockdown and beyond. Stephanie is an experienced peer-educator and has lead and participated in a number of youth-led health organisations, globally and locally.

Our Advisors

ANNIE WHITLOCKE

A spiritual care practitioner who specialises in working with the dying and their loved ones, including those exploring voluntary assisted dying, Annie is the Palliative Care Coordinator for the Buddhist Council of Victoria. She has extensive experience as a mindfulness instructor and funeral celebrant specialising in family-directed vigils.

JOHN DAVEY

John Davey is a disability advocate, public speaker and Social Health ambassador with lived experience overcoming adversity. Formerly a long-term rehab hospital patient, John is served on Social Health’s task force convened to assist the Royal Australian Navy in hiring the first lot of non-religious military chaplains.

MEREDITH DOIG

Meredith has been a leading voice for secularism and inter-belief dialogue in Australia since 2006. The former Chair of Pathways for Diversity, a coalition of faith and freethought groups, Meredith is President of the Rationalist Society of Australia, and played a lead role in a significant legal challenge to the National School Chaplaincy Program.

COLLIN ACTON (OAM)

Collin is former Director General Chaplaincy of the Australian Royal Navy and the driving force behind the Navy becoming the first branch of the military to recruit officers for non-religious spiritual care roles. Awarded an Order of Australia medal in 2021, Collin was recently appointed Vice Chairman of Humanists Australia.

EMILY HAN

A Ph.D. Candidate at the Johns Hopkins University Department of Neuroscience, studying circadian rhythms and sleep. Emily is passionate about mental health. In her podcast ‘Your Brain in the Time of COVID-19’, Emily helps people make sense of the emotions they experience during the pandemic, such as anxiety, loneliness and grief.

GABI KALTMAN

Gabi is the Rabbi of the Ark Centre, a Jewish community centre and synagogue. In addition to holding a Master of Social Work from Deakin University, he is an AFL Multicultural Ambassador and a long-suffering Collingwood supporter. Gabi is especially passionate about making spiritual care and social health support more inclusive.

Our Networks

Social Health Australia is a member of:

“Social Impact End-of-Life Network” is a highly connected network of change-makers with a common goal to create impact and change by acting in aligned, independent, and collaborative ways, focusing on seeing/thinking and acting differently.

“Friendship Alliance” is a group of people from organisations large and small who are passionate about working on the issues of loneliness and social isolation.

“Ending Loneliness Together” is a national network of members working together to tackle chronic loneliness in Australia.

Supporters & Funders