Youth National Reference Group

The headspace Youth National Reference Group (hY NRG) is made up of a diverse group of young people of varying ages, genders and cultural backgrounds.
The group represents each state and territory and work with headspace to ensure young people's voices and opinions remain front and centre.

The hY NRG team is made up of a group of people who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of young people. Hailing from all over Australia and from a diverse set of backgrounds, many of the hY NRG team have experienced their own struggles but overcome them to become advocates of youth mental health.

hY NRG makes sure that any new initiative from headspace will make a positive difference in the lives of young people, and the resources headspace receive from government and corporate partners are put to the best use.

Annie Hong v2
Annie Hong (she/her)
Gadigal Lands NSW

When Annie came to headspace seeking support for her mental health, she realised how important low-cost, early intervention services are for young people.   

She joined hY NRG to advocate for improved access to services and resources, so that all young people can receive appropriate, responsive, and high-quality care.  

Annie has completed her Honours in Psychology and is now wrapping up a Bachelor of Laws. She is eager to use her legal and psychology skills to shape policies and programs in the mental health sector. She is passionate about fostering mentally healthy workplaces and ensuring young people entering the workforce are supported.   

Her advice for young people having a tough time is: “Take your journey at your own pace and celebrate the small and big wins.” 

Ash Wyllie
Ash Wyllie (he/him)
Kubbi Kubbi Land QLD

Ash discovered the power of sharing his lived experience while he was part of the youth reference group at headspace Caboolture.  

As a young carer living with a disability, Ash recognises the importance of reaching out for support and advocating for oneself when experiencing a tough time.  

Ash is a member of the LGBTIQA+ community and knows that discovering your identity can be an exciting and important part of young people’s lives.   

He is passionate about advocating for governments to listen to young people’s perspectives on the issues that impact them, and one day wants to work in the community engagement space.  

Ash says he is grateful for the connections he has made at headspace and that he feels happy each time he walks through the big green doors.    

He loves his dog, Maya, and takes her on walks as one way of maintaining a healthy headspace.   

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Devin Crowhurst (they/them)
Erawirung Land SA

As a non-binary person with a talent for public speaking, Devin is a powerful voice for LGBTIQA+ youth. In fact, Devin emceed the first ever Riverland Pride March in 2021, leading almost 200 people from across the region through Berri.  

It was through their experience seeking support at their local headspace centre that Devin first discovered their passion for representing queer people from rural backgrounds.   

Since then, Devin has lent this perspective to the youth reference group at headspace Berri, and now as a member of hY NRG.   

Devin has lived experience of mental health challenges and ADHD, but they are eager to show young people that getting through these tough times – and thriving - is possible. Devin says that finding their identity and community has been a really important part of their journey.   

Outside of their mental health advocacy work, Devin is a creative who loves drawing and painting. 

Fiona (she/they)
Gadigal Land NSW

Fiona is proud of her identity but says that growing up as a young person in a multicultural migrant family came with unique challenges.    

While attempting to seek support for her mental ill-health, Fiona felt that the mental health system was not always accessible for multicultural young people like her. At the same time, they were facing other barriers, including stigma – both from herself and those around her.  

It was because of their help-seeking experience that Fiona decided to join hY NRG. She is determined to ensure that voices like hers are represented and the challenges she faced in seeking support are addressed. Fiona is also passionate about advocating for mental health practitioners to take a strengths-based, intersectional approach to care.    

Fiona is a volunteer at a headspace centre and in their spare time, flexes their creative muscles through poetry, music and art.    

They are excited to use their lived experience to raise awareness about mental health issues and empower young people to get the support they need. 

Fox Williams
Fox Williams (they/them)
Taungurung & Dhudhuroa Land VIC

An aspiring filmmaker, Fox is using the power of art to inspire young people to take care of their mental health.  

Using their lived experience as an inspiration for their work, Fox has exhibited work that explores what it’s like growing up as a non-binary person in a rural community.  

They are determined to use their time as a hY NRG member to remind young people that they aren’t alone. Fox encourages young people experiencing a tough time to not be afraid to ask for help.  

Fox thinks there is great benefit to peer support and believes that talking to someone your own age, who relates to your story, is a simple and effective way to maintain good mental health.  

Fox enjoys swimming in the river during summer and hitting the ski slopes in winter.  

Isaiah Janiak v2
Isaiah Janiak (he/him)
Ngarrindjeri Land SA

Isaiah’s headspace journey began when he joined the headspace Murray Bridge Youth Reference Group.  

Identifying that his musical talents were a way to engage young people having a tough time with their mental health, he also volunteered at organisations Moorundi and The Station, and ran his own youth music workshop on Kangaroo Island facilitated by headspace Murray Bridge.  

It was for this incredible work that Isaiah was awarded the Local Young Person of the Year at the 2022 NAIDOC Week Awards. 

He has also worked as an Aboriginal Youth Worker at the headspace Murray Bridge, where he helped ensure that the care young people receive is culturally appropriate.  

His number one tip for maintaining a healthy headspace is keeping active which helps him to feel balanced.  

Jamil Nabole
Jamil Nabolé (they/she/he)
Wurundjeri/Woiwurrung Country VIC

Jamil Nabolé is a multidisciplinary creative, influencer and educator who shares their lived experience of mental health and well-being through various projects, with the aim of connecting with change makers and other young people to break down stigmas.   

Being a young, neurodiverse, queer, Muslim person, from the afro diaspora and a migrant and refugee family, Jamil is passionate about intersectional and holistic approaches to care that move towards making support more accessible, self-empowering and culturally sensitive for people from diverse backgrounds. Their identity and experiences of seeking support iminspired them to address disparities in the mental health space.  

Jamil is also a young carer and acknowledges that balancing support for loved ones with their own mental health can be challenging. 

Outside of hY NRG, Jamil is involved in a range of community projects as a consultant, facilitator, MC, and speaker.  

Jayden Delbridge
Jayden Delbridge (he/him)
Darkinjung Land NSW

Jayden comes to hY NRG following several years of service at headspace centres on the Central Coast.  

Jayden sought help for his mental health through headspace after a family member died by suicide. It was this experience that has inspired him to become a mental health advocate.   

He is particularly passionate about championing the importance of early intervention, which he pursues as the Founder of UrVoice

Australia, a non-for-profit aiming to ensure every student feels empowered to reach out and use their voice to seek support.  

An accomplished leader and advocate, Jayden has also been a member of the NSW Youth Advisory Council and Central Coast Y4Y.

For his outstanding contributions to the community, Jayden was the 2022 recipient of the Central Coast Youth Leadership of the Year Award.   

Jayden is currently completing a Bachelor of Social Science at Macquarie University to continue to advocate for social policy reform to benefit young people on a systemic level. 

In his spare time, you’ll find Jayden enjoying the Central Coast’s beautiful beaches.   

Jhalak Arora
Jhalak Arora (she/her)
Meanjin Land QLD

Jhalak - who was born in India, grew up in Africa, and is now studying in Australia - believes that real change can only occur in the mental health field when the voices of diverse advocates are heard. 

A Bachelor of Science (Honours) student at the University of Queensland, Jhalak is dedicated to pursuing her goal of becoming a clinical psychologist. As part of her studies, Jhalak is working on two research projects: one exploring South Asian women's lived experience of mental wellbeing, and another on frailty education.   

Outside of studies and hY NRG, Jhalak works as a medical receptionist and is also a crisis support volunteer at Arafmi - a not-for-profit organisation that provides supports to mental health carers. She is also a youth reference group member at headspace Capalaba.  

Jhalak enjoys reading books and going for long walks. This year, she wants to travel more and see the Southern Lights.   

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Joey Dijkstra (they/them)
Noongar Land WA

Joey is a queer, disabled young person hailing from rural Western Australia. 

Although Joey experienced tough times growing up, they found support at headspace Albany, where they were equipped with skills, tools and connections that helped them to look after their mental health. 

Growing up in a religious community, Joey says that the topic of mental health was sometimes regarded as taboo. Joey is determined to use their platform with hY NRG to continue dismantling stigma, and ultimately inspire others to seek help.  

Making a positive difference in people’s lives is important to Joey, who has completed their studies in Community Services.  

In their spare time, they love to crochet, write poetry and read.  

Their message to young people is: “You are important. Your struggles are real, but they aren't forever.”  

Justin Nguyen
Justin Nguyen (he/him)
Dharug Land NSW

Justin's journey to hY NRG began while studying medicine at the Western Sydney University. It was during his clinical mental health rotation that he met young people who were experiencing mental ill-health and who were directed to headspace for support.  

Meeting the many young people accessing headspace and gaining an understanding of their needs inspired Justin to join hY NRG, to ultimately ensure the organisation is fit for purpose. 

Having experienced ill-mental health himself and as a tutor to school-aged students, Justin knows that it isn’t always easy being a young person. Social media, uncertainty about the future, and academic stress are only some of the pressures young people are face.  

But he also knows that with the right support, young people are very capable of overcoming tough times. That's why he is determined to normalise help-seeking and reduce stigma around mental health.  

In his spare time, Justin loves watching reality TV shows (particularly Love Island) and baking.  

Mike Chitnis
Mike Chitnis (he/him)
Wurundjeri Land VIC

Mike joined the Youth Advisory Group (YAG) at headspace Hawthorn and Malvern because he enjoyed being among his peers in an exciting, friendly, and hopeful space. In this role, he created and facilitated different groups for young people, and promoted mental health literacy through workshops at schools.  

Outside of hY NRG, Mike is also a youth peer worker in the headspace Early Psychosis program, where he supports young people going through a tough time.  

Mike has also graduated with his Bachelor's in Psychological Science at Swinburne University. 

He wants to remind young people that reaching out when times are tough is a sign of strength, and that the experiences we go through help to shape the people we are.  

Mike loves spending time with his dog, Sunny, listening to hip-hop and R&B music and going hiking. 

Paige Wood Kenney
Paige Wood-Kenney (she/her)
Reede Adams Beckett
Reede Adams-Beckett (he/him)
Tyerrernotepanner Land TAS

Hailing from Tasmania, Reede is passionate about using his platform to give young Tasmanians a voice on the topics that matter to them on the national stage.  

He firmly believes young people can change the world for the better.  

Growing up, Reede felt he was often searching for direction and a purpose. He understands that for many young people, these are important parts of a happy, meaningful life. He is using his lived experience of overcoming uncertainty and hopelessness to help others. 

Outside of hY NRG, Reede volunteers at St Vincent de Paul and his local headspace centre in Launceston. He also runs The Bright Project – a community-focused group where he shares his adventures checking off bucket list items, showing young people who relate to him how he is creating a fulfilling life.  

In his spare time, Reede is a soccer coach. 

His motto for life is ‘be yourself’ and 'do cool stuff’.  

Ronan Hart
Ronan Hart (he/him, they/them)
Sarthak Gandhi
Sarthak Gandhi (he/him)
Wurundjeri Land VIC

As a young person, Sarthak found navigating the mental health system challenging. Now that he is working and studying in the field, he is determined to create change from within.   

Sarthak is currently studying medicine at Monash University and working as a research assistant at Murdoch Children's Research Institute. He recently concluded his time as the co-chair of the Teddy Bear Hospital - a student-led, student-run initiative that aims to provide children with positive health care experiences.  

An aspiring paediatrician, Sarthak is eager to use his platform in hY NRG to share how important early intervention and prevention is for the mental health of young people. He also wants to advocate for improving the way we talk about mental health.   

In his spare time, he barracks for the Geelong Cats and enjoys watching cricket and tennis. Sarthak finds fulfilment by exploring the food options at a night market and admiring a sunset.   

Sereena Zanuso
Sereena Zanuso (she/her)
Bundjalung Land NSW

Throughout her high school years, Sereena discovered that she was a reliable source of support for her friends and loved ones when they were experiencing tough times.  

It was this natural tendency that led her to pursue a Bachelor of Counselling. Sereena now works as a Student Wellbeing Officer in primary schools, where she helps to create mentally well communities by supporting the social and emotional wellbeing of students.  

A dedicated mental health advocate, Sereena first came to headspace through her local centre, where  she has volunteered in their

Young Peoples Advisory Committee (YPAC) since 2019. There she discovered the power of working alongside peers equally determined to create positive change. 

A Lismore local, Sereena is eager to use her time in hY NRG to advocate for increased access to mental health support in regional communities.   

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Shahani Asmi Kiyabdeen (she/her)
Varun Gandhi
Varun Gandhi (he/him)
Victoria Marchiori
Victoria Marchiori (she/her)
Bundjalung Country NSW

Victoria is eager to use her platform to advocate for the needs of young people living with mental ill-health. 

As someone who is both autistic and has ADHD, Victoria is determined to be a voice for neurodiverse young people. She is particularly passionate about advocating for greater awareness of how autism can present differently in women.  

Victoria also has lived experience as a young carer, as she supports her father who is a paraplegic.  

She says she is extremely lucky to have a caring and supportive family, who were able to help her navigate tough times.  

Victoria first came to headspace through her local reference group at Tweed Heads, where she is now also a youth project worker.  

She is also studying a Bachelor of Law, and in her spare time enjoys swimming in the ocean.  

Victoria’s best piece of advice for people going through a tough time is something her mum told her: “it's okay not to be okay.”