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

Board of Directors

JOE SEHEE, EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Joe has a wide range of experience as a non-theistic spiritual director and pastoral carer including serving four years as Associate Director of Campus Ministry at the Jesuit-run University of San Francisco. A Peabody Award-winning journalist, Joe is founder of the Green Burial Council, director of EarthFunerals, 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 and governance, Terry has built his career involving large corporates. He has recently begun serving on boards of purpose-driven organisations in both start-up and operations phases, 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.

COLLIN ACTON, DIRECTOR (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. Having committed the last decade of his life to advocating for the rights of military personnel to access to quality wellbeing support, Collin’s current area of interest lies is exploring forms of spirituality beyond religion.

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.

Staff

ALLY SCOTT

A London-bred adoptive Melbournite, Ally is a social justice campaigner and filmmaker. She has worked for non-profits as a project manager, fundraiser and story-teller and is co-founder of the Unity Project to support migrant families in the UK. Ally has been leading Social Health Australia’s ‘Meaning, Purpose and Connection’ pilot project in support of older adults at risk of loneliness and social isolation.

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.

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.

NAGEEN HUSSAIN

Formerly a solutions architect at PwC, Nageen served as a member of Social Health’s credentialing committee, and is currently completing a PhD in Psychology. She now serves as Social Health’s compliance office, ensuring that our volunteer practitioners are appropriately vetted.

Advisory Council

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. Meredith is also the Secretary of Dying with Dignity Victoria.

ROD BOWER
One of Victoria’s most prominent humanist activists, Rod is President of Humanists Victoria; the organisation that auspiced the Secular Spiritual Care Network and provided seed funding to Social Health Australia. Rod retired from a career in engineering and project management to work on inter-belief dialogue and community-building in the nonreligious space.

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 currently serving on Social Health’s newly established national task force to establish credentials for the provision of secular spiritual care in institutional settings.

Our Network

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