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Our Volunteers

Ben Giff 

GW Connect Peer Support Member 

Hi I’m Ben. I’m the Chairperson of Gridiron West but also a founding member of the GW Connect Peer Support Network. I’ve been a qualified Mental Health First Aider for a few years now and work full time as a police officer which I’ve been doing for 14 years across two countries. Through my work it’s fair to say I’ve seen some situations and spoken with hundreds of people who are suffering for a variety of reasons. Be the issues mental health, physical health, family, alcohol, drugs, financial, or any multitude of other issues I’ve probably sat down and had a chat with someone about exactly the issues you’re experiencing right now at some stage. Because of this experience I can give impartial advice in a non judgemental and open minded way. I know things aren’t always simple but I also know that sometimes it’s hard to see a way out of things because you’re just too close.  

If you want to reach out please drop me a line and see if I can help. Most importantly remember- you’re never alone. 

Ben  

JIM WINTER

GW Connect Peer Support Member 

Hey all, I’m Jim. Currently a member of the GW Management Committee, but previously a player, coach, administrator, and President of Gridiron West. More importantly, I have been a qualified Mental Health First Aider for several years. I first got involved through my Bushfire Brigade because of the bad stuff we see when responding to fires. The people you meet who have just lost everything they own, are often in a very bad place. And months after an incident you can see the longer-term effects on your crewmembers. Many times, all they need to start their recovery is someone willing to listen or someone who knows where the appropriate resources are. The stress of loss and accompanying anxiety often leads to drug and alcohol issues, or loss of control incidents, or just a debilitating feeling that something’s not right and the solutions are not readily apparent. Over two in five Australians aged 16-85 years (43.7% or 8.6 million people) have experienced a mental disorder at some time in their life.

You are not alone! But if you’re feeling concerned, please give me a call. We’ll grab a coffee, have a chat, and move on from there!

Jim

SHAE-MARIE MILLAR

GW Connect Peer Support Member 

Hi I’m Shae. I’m the Vice Chairperson for Gridiron West and Communications Director, but am also an advocate for mental health awareness particularly within sporting communities.  

My background in mental health ranges from my degree in Health Promotion with a key focus on mental health, sexual health and substance use, my mental health first aid, to my current employment with Services Australia and vulnerable customers, and many interactions within my own life with friends and family.
Mental health awareness has always been something I have been passionate about and something that I hold very close to my heart, specifically with R U OK Day. I am a real believer that a conversation and knowing that someone is listening can be the support that you may need.  

If you are ever in a spot that you feel like you may need to reach out, please do not hesitate to send me a message. Please remember that there is always someone there to listen.  

-Shae  

LANA SNOW-WALKER

GW Connect Peer Support Member 

Kia ora whanau (Hello Family),
My name is Lana, I’m from New Zealand and I am a player and committee member for the West Coast Wolverines. I’ve been involved in women’s gridiron in WA since the launch of the league in 2017.
I did my mental health first aid training through volunteering onboard the STS Leeuwin II, a tall sail ship down in Fremantle that does youth development voyages and maritime training. I am passionate about youth mental health and LBGTQIA+ mental health. Being a member myself, it’s no secret that a high number of the LBGTQIA+ community struggle with mental health due to discrimination, negative stigmas, and lack of support.
While I am nearly 30 years old, I’ve just started an apprenticeship in Mechanical Fitting/Machining, and I am loving it (you’re never too old to start something new). I’m an outdoor buff and love camping, hiking, 4wding and awkwardly staring at wildlife. When I’m not outdoors, you can find me in a blanket burrito on the couch playing hour after hour of console games (PlayStation is better than Xbox, sorry not sorry).

It’s okay not be okay. If you need some whanau (family), don’t hesitate to reach out. I am always available to listen.