Family and Friends National Reference Group

The headspace Family and Friends Reference Group is made up of members with lived experience of supporting a young person through headspace services.

The headspace Family and Friends Reference Group advocate for the role, contribution and needs of families and friends across all headspace programs and services. 

Alison Reid Ann Gallagher Matthew King
Emma Burton Shallon Yi Sharene Dearlove
Amy Boyd  Kim Edgar  
Alison Reid, Friends + Family National Reference Group
Alison Reid
Brisbane, Queensland
Associated centre 
headspace Nundah
A bit about Alison…
I am the parent of two young adult children (18 and 22) who have accessed headspace to support them with their mental health and wellbeing. I am also a social worker who has worked with a lot of young people. I am concerned about young people with mental health issues being able to get accessible, affordable services.

I also know that working collaboratively with family and friends is important for getting the best outcomes, and that is why I applied to be part of the headspace Family and Friends reference group. I am aware of how important it is for family and friends to take good care of themselves so that we can support our young people.

An interesting fact about Alison…
When I am not working I like to watch TV, read, do craft and walk my dog. Having a dog is one of the best ways to improve mental health!
Ann Gallagher, Friends & Family National Reference Group
Ann Gallagher
Blind Bight, Victoria
Associated centre 
headspace Narre Warren
A bit about Ann…
I applied to be part of the headspace Family and Friends Reference Group as I have a passion to help with mental health. As a holistic counsellor and a netball coach working with teens, I have seen the effect of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, drug and alcohol use, and unfortunately suicide far too many times.

I love to help people feel good and empowered and working with the Family and Friends Reference Group will help take that to a broader range of people and will also enable me to learn so much more in return

An interesting fact about Ann…
I love the number 13. It has played a significant part in my life more than most would consider. I would be quite willing to tell you about it.
Matthew King portrait
Matthew King
Sydney, New South Wales
A bit about Matthew…

Matthew is passionate about improving the mental health system particularly for young LGBTIQA+ people. Matthew has experienced mental health challenges since 2015 and through this became aware of the presence of mental ill health in young people. He also has experience helping close friends and family through similar issues.

He also hopes to encourage a greater representation of male counsellors, assist young LGBTQ+ and promote better understanding and treatment of eating disorders.

As well as having a passion to help others, Matthew enjoys swimming in the ocean and when he was younger, had a strange obsession with vegemite and bacon sandwiches!

Emma Burton, Friends & Family National Reference Group
Emma Burton
Merrylands, New South Wales
Associated centre   
headspace Parramatta
A bit about Emma…
I have been passionate about mental health for many years now, especially as I have seen the direct impact mental health issues and the stigma that often surrounds this has had on those in my life who I support. When I came across the opportunity to be part of the headspace Family and Friends Reference Group I applied immediately.

I knew this would be a fantastic way to become involved in making sustainable change that would not only benefit those who I know, but also others in the community who may be facing their own mental health challenges. I see this as a way for a group of family and friends supporting loved ones to come together with a common goal to make a real difference within the sector and in service delivery.

An interesting fact about Emma…
I love cats and have three of my own including two hairless sphynx’s and a Cornish Rex who I recently rescued and adopted. Although having three very mischievous cats keeps me busy, I hope to adopt more!
Shallon Yi, Friends and Family National Reference Group
Shallon Yi
Brisbane, Queensland
Associated centre       
headspace Nundah
A bit about Shallon…
I am passionate about parents being empowered and supported with the right knowledge and resources to support their children through adolescence. I believe that connectedness to a safe and loving family is such a significant protective factor in young people’s lives, that it should be an absolute priority in legislation, policy, research and service provision. I am excited for the opportunity to contribute to the ways in which headspace plays a crucial role in this area.
An interesting fact about Shallon…
When my oldest son was 9, we packed up and moved to Cambodia. We met the most amazing people who changed my life forever, including my beautiful husband who was brave enough to leave his home country for the first time to come and live in Australia. 
Sharene Dearlove, Friends & Family National Reference Group
Sharene Dearlove
Port Augusta, South Australia
Associated centre   
headspace Port Augusta
A bit about Sharene…
We have been involved with our local headspace centre for quite a few years after my daughter experienced severe anxiety and depression when she moved to Adelaide and started university.

headspace was our first point of contact and our local centre has been a huge support over our three-year journey. Thankfully headspace Port Augusta is very family inclusive, offering support and guidance to not only my daughter, but those of us supporting her.

I am a passionate believer that our young people need the support of either family or friends outside of their health professional. These people are the ones that are the 24/7 support so ensuring they have the tools to help in the best way possible is so important.

I hope that be being involved with the Family and Friends Reference Group we can help build those additional support mechanisms and offerings that can help those supporting our young people in a more meaningful way.

An interesting fact about Sharene…
I have been a mortgage broker for the last 25 years, plus started a new business last year, I am a netball coach & administrator, calisthenics coach, and hoping to get back to studying my bachelor of arts degree soon – I don’t sit still well!
Amy Boyd 30
Amy Boyd
Gold Coast, Queensland
Associated centre       
headspace Southport
A bit about Amy…
Amy is passionate about building the capacity, resilience, and literacy of people who have loved-ones experiencing difficulties with their mental health.
Amy has been a carer for two members of her family who experienced mental-ill health and also has a lived experience of her own.
In her role on the Family and Friends National Reference Group, Amy hopes to be a representative for siblings who are supporting family and friends through their mental ill-health.
Amy is currently working at at Gen Z Employment, running group programs for young people with the hope of getting them re-engaged in education, training, or employment.
Amy loves drawing, going to music gigs, collecting plants and spending her time at the beach. When she isn’t at the beach she is studying a Masters of Design.
photo headspace
Kim Edgar
Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria
 A bit about Kim…

I am a single parent to three boys and we live in a beautiful coastal town on the Bellarine Peninsula. In August of 2018, after a long battle with mental illness, my middle son took his life. After having supported my son through his struggles with major mental health issues I have become a passionate advocate for youth suicide prevention and ensuring that our young people can access services and resources that meet their needs at the time that they need it. I strongly believe that the involvement of a young person’s support people in their care can help improve outcomes. It is rewarding and exciting to have the opportunity to provide a lived experience perspective through involvement with this group, particularly that of caring for a young person who may be reluctant or unwilling to engage.

An interesting fact…we have lots of furry love in our house with three cats and two dogs, all except one are rescue animals. I love to garden and to do handcrafts such as quilting and embroidery. I find the craft of slow creation almost meditative – good for the mind and the soul.