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Our Master Trainer & Founder
Administration & Research
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The Mental Health Station is immensely grateful for the ongoing contribution and work of Jennifer Parker in the area of administration and research over the past 10 years. Jennifer is an invaluable part of the Mental Health Station and its team.
The Mental Health Station grew out of a recognition by its founder Sydel Weinstein and the client base at the Home of Yoga and Family Nurturing Centre of the importance of raising mental health awareness and of the need for accessible mental health training that was practical in nature and also promoted compassionate listening as an essential skill for mental health support.
Sydel and her partner established the Home of Yoga and Family Nurturing Centre in 1985. It became clear that a majority of persons were seeking yoga for mental health reasons as substantiated in a national survey 'Yoga in Australia: Penman, 2008. Through their work supporting parents and new families, which also included a parenting helpline for many years, the need for mental health education and practical knowledge on how to support persons in distress became acutely apparent.
We are forever grateful to Sam Weinstein (1956-2018) for his compassion, dedication and founding of our original non-profit. His legacy is carried on.
Sydel had a long term interest in Mental Health due to childhood experiences witnessing the suffering of her parents who both experienced trauma, depression. This led to research and exploration by Sydel into the area of mental health and wellness. Sydel completed a Sociology degree with a major in the Sociology of Psychiatry and travelled to the US, Europe and Asia to deepen her studies. Areas of specific interest included workplace wellness, trauma, attachment, childhood development, mindfulness and trauma informed body therapies.
In 2003 Sydel over heard Betty Ann Kitchener AM an Australian mental health educator who founded mental health first aid being interviewed on Radio National about her newly created program and knew this would be an excellent training to make available to the workplaces, communities and families of Western Australia.
In 2004 the first Instructor Training in MHFA was conducted in WA and Sydel completed accreditation as a Standard trainer, later adding Youth MHFA and going on to become a Master Trainer. The Mental Health Station was founded in 2005.
Over 16yrs of conducting trainings Sydel has visited a wide variety of workplaces from corporate, government departments, schools, non-profits . Sydel is passionate about promoting mental health and wellness in the workplace.
Sydel has a wealth of experience that brings a depth and compassion to her trainings,:
For one the Mental Health Station (MHS) was located for decades next to a train station. In the Family Nurturing Centre which predated the MHS we would play a train game and sing a train song in our parent and child support classes . Yearly as a community we ride the 'World Breastfeeding Week Train' into Perth CBD to celebrate WABA's International World Breastfeeding Week.
The train has always been a symbol of connection and community for the Family Nurturing Centre and it seemed therefore a natural extension to integrate the train into our MHS Logo, symbolising accessibility, hope and connection.
Did you know the Flannel Flower is the Australian symbol for mental health awareness? That is why you see the Flannel Flower on so many logos and websites on mental health like ours!
"The Australian bush has an inherent beauty and strength. It is also known for its extremes of weather and landscape. Varieties of the Flannel Flower are commonly found growing wild in the bush throughout Australia. The Flannel Flower, as with all native Australian plants, needs to be adaptable and enduring in order to survive.In the same way all of us, regardless of our life circumstances, develop resilience and the ability to adapt to change, in order to maintain good mental health.
Being open and empathetic to a person’s expression of distress can assist in the recovery of a person living with mental illness and change the negative attitudes of our society as a whole."
Ian White Mental Health Council of Australia