AMWF State by State Roundup

2 August 2021

The AMWF (Australia) was just starting to get off the ground when COVID hit in early 2020. Since then, we have established forums in five states, with groups regularly meeting online and face to face to share knowledge, experiences, research and strategies in a bid to support architects’ mental health in the workplace.

Initiatives have included the adaptation of the UK AMWF Toolkit, a number of webinars and events around the country, and regular informal catch-ups and check-ins.



The SA Forum was delighted to host its launch event last month – We Should Talk – targeted at younger members of the profession via EmAGN. Speakers included Dino Vrynios (Das Studio), Erin Crowden (EmAGN National Chair) and Victoria Clarkson (EmAGN SA Chair). It was a thought provoking and personal event, providing the opportunity for people to speak in-depth about mental health and wellbeing in our profession. The panellists discussed the pressures students and younger members of the profession can experience and what has helped them through difficult periods of their career. A poll/questionnaire gave everyone an opportunity to share their thoughts and provide very useful feedback for the planning of future AMWF events. Next up for SA will be an offer to participate in the St John’s Mental Health First Aid Training. Details to follow.

Contact Sascha Byrne to learn more about getting involved.


The NSW/ACT Forum is facilitated by former Vice-President of the NSW/ACT ACA branch Michael Lewarne, with the support of BVN’s Head of People and Character Brian Clohessy. Recent events have included a presentation on the Compassion Revolution by Mary Freer, and a joint event with the NSW Small Practice Forum, which featured speakers Byron Kinnaird, who spoke of the Monash-led mental wellbeing research project; Brian Clohessy, who presented on the Architects Mental Wellbeing Forum and BVN’s work in the area; and Stephen Collier, who shared his struggles with mental health in practice. See Michael Lewarne’s article for more on this important topic of the importance of showing vulnerability. An upcoming event for the NSW/ACT Forum at the end of August will include a presentation on mental health in the time of COVID by psychologist Paul Valent.

Contact Michael Lewarne to learn more about getting involved.

QLD/NT Forum

The QLD/NT Forum first got together in April 2020. They found so much value in connecting and talking that they have met regularly since then via video conference. The group has found it enormously valuable to connect regularly, share knowledge, and discuss concerns and challenges. Events this year have included a webinar on Employee Assistance Programs, with three EAP providers presenting; and a session on the Champions of Change, with speakers Brett Hudson and Monica Edwards. Upcoming events include an open forum discussion on 19 August, a webinar on 13 October by Georgia Henry, organisational psychologist from Henry Reed on the topic of ‘Managing client expectations and dealing with bad behaviour’ and an ‘in-person’ end-of-year breakfast celebration in December.

Contact Louise Street to learn more about getting involved.


With Victoria going in and out of lockdown for more than a year, it has been difficult to organise face to face meetings in Melbourne. However, the VIC/TAS Forum has regular Zoom meetings and an active WhatsApp group as a way of connecting and providing feedback and advice to each other. The VIC/TAS group hopes to be able to have its first face to face catch-up later this month (after two or three lockdown cancellations) and there are plans in the works for events later in the year. Topics of interest to the forum include the challenges of COVID, how managers and practice owners maintain their own mental health, first aid courses, and remote and flexible work. The Forum is also working on a resource around staff surveys into mental wellbeing, researching what small, medium and large practices are doing to connect with their employees.

Contact Katherine Ygosse to learn more about getting involved.


The WA Forum launched earlier in the year at the Hassell Studio, with a range of speakers in-person and via Zoom, including Angelina Pillai, ACA CEO and key driver behind the AMWF in Australia; Brian Clohessy, Head of People and Character at BVN; and Michael Gay, Senior Architect at Coniglio Ainsworth Architects. Next up for WA is an offer to participate in the St John’s Mental Health First Aid Training on 12 September, which has a small discount from St John’s and a subsidy from the ACA – WA. Numbers are limited for this one-day training session.

Contact Emma Brain to learn more about getting involved.