Expert Insights – Navigating youth mental health

Webinar for parents and carers
Wednesday 24 August 7:00-8:00 pm AEST

Webinar overview

80% of young people say their mental health has deteriorated over COVID and only 50% of Australian children with mental illness receive help.

Our panel features Black Dog Institute’s clinicians and Lived Experience representatives who will discuss the following topics:

  • Supporting young people with their mental health
  • Identifying signs that a young person needs support
  • How to have a conversation with someone you are concerned about
  • Support options for young people and their families

At the conclusion of the presentation, there will be the opportunity for attendees to ask questions of the panel. The webinar will be facilitated by Natalie Walker, P&C Federation President.


The following panel will be at the webinar to share information and answer your questions:

  • Dr Kristine Kafer, Clinical Psychologist, Black Dog Institute
  • Dr Sarah Barker, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Black Dog Institute
  • Anne Schwartz, Lived Experience Volunteer Presenter, Black Dog Institute
  • Mitchell Hope, Lived Experience Volunteer Presenter, Black Dog Institute

To register

Registrations are now open for this webinar. Please note that this webinar will not be recorded.

We look forward to you joining this webinar and encourage you to promote the webinar through your local school communities.

Natalie Walker
President, P&C Federation

Natalie Walker is the Far West Councillor & elected President of NSW P&C Federation. She resides in Forbes, Central West NSW, with her husband and two children who attend Forbes High School. Natalie is also an active member of Forbes High School P&C Association, currently in the role of Secretary.

As a passionate advocate for (and product of) public education, Natalie is deeply committed through her professional and volunteer work to ensuring all children and young people get the best start in life. Based in NSW, this means her effort is focussed on strengthening the foundations of key organisations – and particularly the NSW P&C Federation – as valuable stakeholders, partners and contributors to NSW public schools and the system they operate in.

Dr Kristine Kafer
Clinical Psychologist, Black Dog Institute

Dr Kristine Kafer is a Clinical Psychologist with over 20 years clinical experience across the public health and private sector. Kristine is a conjoint senior lecturer with the University of Newcastle. Kristine works at the Black Dog Institute as Psychology and Youth Program Developer. In 2018 she was part of the team that received the Winc Knowledge Translation Award for development of “Youth in distress: Managing suicidality and self-harm” and in 2020 won The Mental Health Service Awards for the development and delivery of this training to NSW Department of Education School Counselling workforce.

Dr Sarah Barker
Senior Clinical Psychologist, Black Dog Institute

Dr Sarah Barker has 20+ years’ experience in enriching wellbeing in children, teenagers, families, adults, schools and organisations with diverse needs, applying evidence-based psychological science. Sarah seeks to understand people’s and organisations’ experiences to gain insight into behaviour, teaming with them to create changes they seek. Sarah partners with people; schools; and health and community organisations to support meaningful goal setting; harness strengths; create healthy thinking habits; develop creative, practical solutions; and increase resilience, calm and wellbeing. Her therapy, consultancy and training offer people and organisations an opportunity to refocus, rediscover what matters to them, develop and maintain respectful relationships and enhance wellbeing. Sarah is particularly interested in mood, anxiety, trauma and resilience. She has lectured at Australian and international universities and enjoys making the latest, evidence-based findings about mental health issues accessible and relatable to raise awareness and enhance positive outcomes for people they affect.

Anne Schwartz
Lived Experience Volunteer Presenter, Black Dog Institute

Anne’s son Adam is now 31 and has been managing depression since he was about 10 years old. Adam has spent time in both public and private hospitals, tried various treatments, and has learned ways to manage his mental health.

Anne shares her story of her son’s struggle with depression during his school years and beyond. Her story gives insight into the ways depression can present during adolescence; the challenges faced as well as practical tips to help support the person you care for.

Mitchell Hope
Lived Experience Volunteer Presenter, Black Dog Institute

Mitch Hope has experienced the effects of depression and anxiety both first-hand (since the age of 9) and second-hand (close friends, partners). The clinical psychologist he first saw believes he fit the formal diagnostic criteria for both Major Depressive Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder until age 15.

At 18, Mitch first went to Headspace for professional help with a friend. He is confident that he would not still be alive if not for friends who helped him understand and process what he was going through. The psychologist he saw believes that many of the mental health issues he struggled with, would never have manifested if understanding and help had reached him sooner. These are the main reasons that Mitch has a passion for mental health conversations and dismantling stigma and shame.

Mitch became involved as a Lived Experience speaker with Black Dog after spending time in Florida USA as an intern at To Write Love On Her Arms, a not-for-profit organisation that advocates for open conversation about mental health. He lives in Sydney with his wife, their Dog named Sora, and two cats, Willow and Terra. Mitch has completed a Psychology Bachelor with Distinction at UoW.