Hosted by the Australian & New Zealand Mental Health Association, this conference is designed for all professionals working on the frontline of disaster and emergency management – from paramedics, police and firefighters, through to defence force workers and volunteers.

By providing a platform for all opinions, experiences and insights to be heard, we aim to break the stigma of mental health treatment, support and advocacy for our frontline workers.


Join us in uniting to break the stigma and show support for professionals placing their physical and mental health at risk on the frontline.


Co-Chair Cameron Anderson, Deputy Manager, Emergency Operations, Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria Government

Cameron Anderson is an Advanced Life Support paramedic and firefighter with extensive experience in disaster response and major incident management across Victoria and Queensland. Cameron’s professional interests include emergency response to remote and austere environments, and the management of mass-casualty incidents. His career has spanned fire and rescue, USAR and ambulance specialist operations, including responses to many of Australia’s most significant disasters including the 2009 Victorian bushfires and cyclones Debbie, Oswald and Yasi. Cameron holds a Master’s degree in Disaster and Emergency Response and is a doctoral candidate with Edith Cowan University exploring the role and responsibility of paramedics in a public health crisis.

Co-Chair Kate Martin, Director, College for Law, Education and Training

Kate Martin is the Director of the College for Law Education and Training and has over 11 years’ experience working with former and current police, military and emergency services workers.  With a background in law and corrective services, she is currently a doctoral candidate with Charles Sturt University researching the transition processes for first responders and how this impacts on their post service job satisfaction.  Kate holds a number of higher education qualifications including a Master of Disaster and Emergency Response from Edith Cowan University, a Master of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism from Macquarie University and a Bachelor of Psychological Science from Swinburne University.

Senior Constable Jessica Foster, Mental Health Intervention Coordinator, Townsville District, Queensland Police Service

Jessica has been a police officer with the Queensland Police Service (QPS) for 9 years having completed her training at the North Queensland Police Academy in 2010. Jess has worked her whole police career in Townsville; manly stationed at Kirwan Police Station as a general duties officer. Her current role within the QPS is the Mental Health Intervention Co-Ordinator for the Townsville District. Jess is passionate about reducing the stigma of mental health through her role as a Peer Support Officer in the QPS and within her role as the Adopt-a-Cop at St Margaret Mary’s College. Jess enjoy mentoring young women; empowering them to become strong, independent people who contribute greatly to society.

Andrew Coghlan, National Manager, Emergency Services, Australian Red Cross

Andrew brings over 20 years experience in the emergency management sector. His current role is as National Manager, Emergency Services with Australian Red Cross, overseeing the national Emergency Services function. Andrew has played a pivotal role in coordinating the Red Cross response to a number of major emergencies and disasters, including Cyclone Larry (2006), the Black Saturday Victorian Bushfires (2009) and Queensland Floods and Cyclone Yasi (2011). Prior to joining Red Cross, Andrew was the National Recovery Consultant with Emergency Management Australia, providing advice to both State and Federal governments following a range of emergencies and playing a key role in coordinating recovery assistance to Australians impacted by PTSD from events such as the Boxing Day 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

Brendon Marty, Project Manager, Mentally Healthy City, Tropical Brain & Mind Foundation

Brendon has worked in numerous Federal Departments and represented consulting firms Deloitte and Oakton Digital Services in delivering projects ranging from business transformation through to technological change in both the Public and Private Sectors. He has recently relocated back to Townsville and is leading the Mentally Healthy City Project for the Tropical Brain and Mind Foundation. A passion for community, technology, and a family history in mental health awareness and support is the driving force behind his pursuit of the role. Brendon brings with him experience in engagement, management and project delivery which will enable him to give back to his hometown.

Dr Melody Fudge, Regional Director, Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling

Dr Melody Fudge is currently employed as the North Queensland Regional Director for the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS).  In this role she has responsibility for overseeing the delivery of an accredited mental health service for current and ex-serving members of the Australian Defence Force and their families. Melody is also an adjunct Senior Lecturer at James Cook University and is an appointed member of the Australian Psychological Society Test and Testing Expert Reference Group.  Melody is a Clinical Psychologist with a particular interest in veteran mental health issues like PTSD and psychological assessment.  She primarily works from a CBT perspective and is an evidence based practitioner.  Previously she has occupied clinical roles in community mental health, private practice and within other federal government departments.

Kevin Humphreys, Training and Checking Pilot, Queensland Government Air

Kevin was a military combat pilot and commander, who now as a civilian rescue helicopter pilot, flight instructor and examiner shares powerful messages about mental illness. He inspires courageous and compassionate conversations for businesses and individuals. Towards the peak of his military career he contemplated suicide and suffered a breakdown due to PTSD, depression, anxiety and bullying.

As the Mental Health Ambassador for AIRBUS Australia Pacific, Community Ambassador for Mates4Mates and Patron of PTSD Dogs Australia, Kevin shows that mental illness and PTSD is normal, manageable and recoverable for the vast majority of people and can be the catalyst for growth.

Associate Professor Erin Smith, Course Coordinator for Postgraduate Studies in Disaster and Emergency Response, Edith Cowan University

Erin is a member of the Board of Directors for the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine where she also holds the positions of Convenor of the Psychosocial Special Interest Group and Deputy Chair of the Oceania Chapter.

Erin is a member of the Editorial Boards of the journals Prehospital and Disaster Medicine and the Journal of High Threat and Austere Medicine. An active volunteer in her community, Erin is the Well-Being Team Lead for the Australian Red Cross – Emergency Services Victoria, where she is also an emergency services responder. She is also a Committee Member of The Code 9 Foundation, a charity providing support to first responders and 000 operators who live with mental health conditions resulting from their service to the community.

Erin writes a regular column “Let’s Talk Mental Health” for the Australian Emergency Services Magazine and has also been published in The Conversation and Croakey.org. An active researcher in prehospital and disaster response, she is a member of the Research Committee of the Australasian College of Paramedicine where she is also a mentor of early-career researchers.


Presentation Submissions Close
Wednesday 15 July 2020

Conference Program Available
Thursday 13 August 2020

Early-Bird Registration Closes
Friday 4 September 2020


We are committed to improving mental health care for Australia and New Zealand’s frontline workers.

We’ve sourced some of Australia’s most influential experts in mental health, experienced in providing specialised service and support to workers regularly exposed to disaster, emergency, stress and trauma.

The speaker line-up also gives you the chance to hear from fellow workers in the front line. By sharing experiences, you will gain insight into treatment, techniques and support used by fellow industry professionals, and be part of breaking mental health stigma on the frontline.

To further our commitment, we will provide you with all presenter podcasts and presentation slides for 30 days post-conference. This will ensure you are equipped with everything you need to continue harnessing the mental health of frontline workers.