Two years ago, our community lost a giant.
Our researchers, psychologists, health workers and community lost an important leader, a skilled clinician, a superb orator and a great man – Professor Trevor Waring.
Trevor Waring influenced so many people’s lives and careers, and it’s no secret that he left a permanent impression on mine.
He was a man who was generous with his time, and could have an audience eating out of the palm of his hand.
He loved to tell jokes – often the same one many times over – and was proud of his connection and enduring contribution to our university, our health service and the next generation of Newcastle leaders.
The contribution that Professor Trevor Waring made to our researchers, local health services and our community more broadly can never be underestimated.
Starting from Monday November 12, the Inaugural Trevor Waring Expert in Residence series will be a chance to honour the legacy he left.
The annual series of workshops, talks and meetings for the Hunter region was announced in 2017 as a partnership between Everymind, the Hunter New England Local Health District and the University of Newcastle, as a way of recognising the significant role Professor Waring played in the community throughout his long distinguished career.
He was proud of his connection and enduring contribution to our university, our health service and the next generation of Newcastle leaders.
Many people will know of Trevor Waring’s long history with the University of Newcastle and the Hunter New England Local Health District.
But he also started the Institute that I now lead, and actually recruited me as a project officer about 17 years ago.
Trevor Waring was the founding director of Everymind, originally the Hunter Institute of Mental Health, starting the Institute back in 1992 with only a small part-time team.
Through his hard work and dedication he set strong foundations, which has seen our home-grown Institute grow from being small and Newcastle-based, to a nationally recognised leader in the prevention of mental ill-health and the prevention of suicide, with over 50 staff and students.
Joining with our university and health service to organise this annual event in Trevor’s name, felt like the least we could do to acknowledge all that he has given to us and the communities we serve through his hard work and dedication.
It was a difficult task looking across the international community to decide on our inaugural Trevor Waring Expert in Residence, and earlier this year it was announced that Professor Rory O’Connor from the University of Glasgow would visit Newcastle to deliver the Memorial Lecture on Thursday, November 15.
Professor Rory O'Connor is a registered health psychologist with a long-standing interest in suicide research and prevention and has been working in the field since 1994.
He is the director of the Suicidal Behaviour Research Laboratory at the University of Glasgow and the vice-president of the International Association for Suicide Prevention, to name just a few accomplishments.
He is a well-respected researcher, clinician and suicide prevention advocate and has demonstrated a keen commitment to sharing his knowledge, collaborating with others and building the next generation of suicidologists.
It is no coincidence that our first expert is a psychologist, an academic, a mentor and a great orator who has proven to be generous with his time and knowledge.
It is also no coincidence that we chose someone who is on the cutting edge of research, policy and practice in suicide prevention internationally.
In the Hunter, there are many dedicated organisations and individuals who have been working together to redesign our approach to suicide prevention and we hope the week of activity will help to consolidate that work and momentum.
There are a lot of people across our community and businesses, organisations and services who will benefit from Professor O’Connor’s visit.
He is an excellent speaker and a leader in his field.
It is the reason he was chosen as the first Expert in Residence in our founder’s name.
The Trevor Waring Memorial Lecture is free to attend and open to anyone in our community who is interested in understanding and preventing suicide.
The event is being held at the Conservatorium of Music on Thursday night, November 15.
For details see everymind.org.au
If you, or someone you know, needs urgent support contact Lifeline 13 11 14.