THE founder of a mental health education charity spreading the word about suicide prevention and a passionate advocate for Aboriginal affairs in Tasmania were among the winners at this year’s Tasmanian Young Achievers Awards.
The awards ceremony, held at Wrest Point on 8 April and attended by approximately 350 people, recognised the outstanding work and achievements of young Tasmanians.
Winners were named in eight categories, with Tranmere local Mitch McPherson taking the overall prize of Premier’s Young Achiever of the Year for 2016 after claiming the St Lukes Health Healthier Communities Award.
The 28-year-old established “Speak Up! Stay Chatty” after his youngest brother Ty tragically took his own life in 2013.
The charity aims to prevent suicide by spreading the message that nothing is so bad that you can’t talk about it.
Mr McPherson has since presented to more than 150 schools and sporting clubs, and will roll out a school program this year.
He has raised more than $120,000 in funds and Speak Up! Stay Chatty has in excess of 12,000 Facebook followers.
Fellow winner Teangi Brown, 21, of Bellerive, clinched the Colony 47 Young Aboriginal Achievement Award for his work in running educational programs and guided tours on Tasmanian Aboriginal culture and history.
Mr Brown, who works at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, is often requested to speak at functions on the history of Tasmanian Aboriginal people.
Alongside this work, he successfully operates his own business as an Aboriginal interpretation guide for schools on cultural camps.
Mr Brown has participated in the Tasmanian Youth Forum and the National Indigenous Youth Parliament.
He volunteers for Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre’s Land Care with Parks and Wildlife and regularly performs Welcome to Country at community events.
The winner of each category was presented with $1,000 and a trophy.
As the Premier’s Young Achiever of the Year, Mr McPherson also received $1,000 from the Tasmanian Government and a holiday for two provided by Wrest Point and Qantas.
Caption: Winner of the Colony 47 Young Aboriginal Achievement award Teangi Brown, of Bellerive, takes to the stage to receive his prize from Colony 47 chief executive officer Therese Taylor.