Disruptive System Change — Tackling the Injustice of Suicide: Interview with John Mendoza | Episode 20
NOTE: This podcast aired on 9/25/18 at 10AM ET http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hopeilluminated
When it comes to engaging a wider circle in our suicide prevention and mental health promotion movements, we need to take a page from the playbook of other social justice movements. How do we “make the message stick”? How can we bring the call to action to life? How do we create a tipping point of change?
Successful agents of change are able to connect the dots and “bake in” tactics within a broader system, making suicide prevention and mental health promotion everyone’s priority. They also enroll people into the cause by listening first and then employing culturally responsive efforts that lift up the stories of local people who have lived through the challenges.
Within the world of mental health and suicide, we must seriously reconsider our “business as usual” approach because it’s not working. Social justice issues related to human rights are at the center of the reasons for our short-comings. During this interview I got to spend time chatting with one of the most accomplished social change agents I know: John Mendoza.
About John Mendoza
In this podcast we hear from an international inspiration, John Mendoza, on how he has mobilized change throughout Australia and beyond. I first met John through our mutual admiration of MATES in Construction many years ago. In 2014 John came to Colorado upon my invitation to speak at our US/Canada/Australia forum on Workplace Mental Health. Most recently, he invited me to keynote at an event on the Sunshine Coast called “Shifting the Dial” where he convened 165 business, political, advocate and lived experience leaders to talk about innovative approaches to tackling the injustice of suicide.
Today, John is the Director of ConNetica, an Australia organization established in 2007 with a mission of connecting people from diverse networks to solve complex problems. ConNetica is known for its suite of training “Lifeboat” programs including “Conversations for Life.” John is the former Chair of the Australian Government’s National Advisory Council on Mental Health and former CEO of the Mental Health Council of Australia. He has been a key advocate for securing billions for Australian mental health plans. For John the calling to do this work goes well beyond the professional as he lost a cherished nephew in 2014 under circumstances that were partly attributable to substandard mental health care.
During our interview John shares some of his highly effective tactics in engaging A-List media partners and in bringing divisive political foes together to move toward a common mission of saving lives. He argues that we need more than a multi-pronged approach to suicide prevention; we need to build a fortress of a strategy and look at the social determinants to despair.
From working with the International Olympic Committee while planning the Sydney games to working with the indigenous people of the Kimberly, John has learned much about empowerment, building capacity and disrupting the status quo.
Also, he like to partner with unreasonable people, so I’m glad to call him my friend and fellow warrior.
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