Architects Mental Wellbeing Breakfast in SA

9 March 2021

The ACA – SA Committee started the year with breakfast and the launch of the Architects Mental Wellbeing Forum on 23 February.

ACA – SA Branch and National President John Held welcomed 40 people to The Adelaide Pavilion in the city. Thanks and recognition were given to Anna Roussos Recruitment + Advisory as our state sponsor for 2021. Also recognised were our principal partners Planned Cover, Deltek, NexSys, Ardex and knowledge partners informed Lawyers and Mecca Events.

ACA CEO Angelina Pillai said in her opening address, “Mental wellbeing in the architectural profession and its impact on running a business is more important than ever. It’s always been important, of course, but COVID has escalated its position on our priority lists exponentially.”

We welcomed Ben Channon, founder and chair for the Architects Mental Wellbeing Forum in the UK. Ben took us through what prompted him to start the AMWF three years ago, a classic case of overwork and perfectionism leading to burnout. After visiting Melbourne in 2019, he realised that architecture in the UK and Australia had a lot of similar challenges. Now is the time to shift the mindset and culture of architectural practices.

Brian Clohessy, Head of People and Character at BVN Architecture in Sydney, took us through a thought-provoking and inspiring presentation on the work that has been done at BVN to create a strong supportive culture. The scale of BVN, combined with a deep commitment to managing the mental health of their team, has led to a suite of tools and policies that support a sustainable culture, and which can be learned from and adapted to practices of varying sizes. (See the BVN case study for more information)

Our attendees also included guests from the Master Builders Association, who highlighted that mental health and industry participation as a result of challenging work practices are a broader issue than purely architecture, affecting the full suite of consultants and contractors across the construction industry.

With the impact of the pandemic still front of mind across society and an industry-wide concern around wellbeing and long-term career fulfilment, there appears to be a moment in time to focus on and shift cultures that have evolved poorly until now.

We invite architects in South Australia to get involved in the AMWF in 2021. For more information, see our article on the Architects Mental Wellbeing Forum in Australia; or contact ACA – SA Executive Officer Sascha Byrne at