Aaron Williams MAASW BSW, CEO and co-founder of Mindstar, has partnered with Australia’s favourite brother, actor and cancer vanquisher Samuel Johnson OAM, to help make Australia the happiest, healthiest country in the world.
Their new presentation – ‘Life-Stuff’ – is designed to crush the stigma around mental health by contrasting Samuel’s deeply personal, anecdotal style with Aaron’s positive, practical strategies for feeling happier, healthier and stronger – both at home and at work.
Their message, put simply? It’s normal to feel crappy & struggle from time to time, it’s ok to talk about it and there’s plenty one can do to feel better.
• Mental illness costs the Australian economy $33B a year
• Suicide is now the leading cause of death among young &
• While more women attempt suicide, 75% of people who die
by suicide are male
• Mental illness highest in industries like financial services, IT & communications – up to 33% of people experience a mental health condition every 12 months
• Employee absenteeism & presenteeism due to stress & anxiety is skyrocketing
• There has been a HUGE surge in mental health insurance claims. Mental health has now become the largest claims payout for income protection insurance policies
• Australian businesses can expect a positive return on investment (ROI) of 2.3, or an average of $2.30 in benefits for those workplaces who invest in mental health initiatives (PwC, 2014)
We live in a high-stress, fast-paced, uncertain and often challenging world. The constant, intense nature of modern life has many of us feeling overwhelmed and lost about how to change the way we live. The digital age has brought with it many extra challenges also. Many of us feel dissatisfied at work, unsettled at home and guilty about our own unhappiness. How can we feel so empty when our lives are so full?
Samuel Johnson, OAM, has enjoyed a storied career as a performer and fundraiser. He has reached the pinnacle of Showbiz, winning a Gold Logie for his portrayal of Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum, but is perhaps best known as ‘that guy who rode a unicycle around the country for his sister’. His efforts to raise $10M for cancer research in the face of his sister Connie’s diagnosis with breast cancer earned him the title of ‘Victorian Australian of the Year’ in the Queen’s Honour’s List of 2018. In 2019, he danced his way to success as the winner of “Dancing With the Stars”. His ascension to the upper echelons of the entertainment industry and the Not-For-Profit sector has garnered him enormous reach, broad public support and a string of significant accolades.
In this new presentation of ‘Life Shit’, Samuel unpacks the man behind the myth, to reveal a deeply troubled individual marked by a lifetime of death, drugs and dysfunction. In his compelling and often hilarious self-portraiture, Samuel reveals the extraordinary measures he’s undertaken in an effort to understand his condition. His story, within the ‘Life-Shit’ presentation, serves not merely ice-breaker, but as a fascinating case study that is relatable to all and a springboard for further discussion.
To make sense of Samuel’s personal history, and to help deal with the questions Samuel’s story raises more broadly, enter Aaron Williams, of Mindstar, who calls on a rich tapestry of clinical experience, research and philosophy to provide further insight into the nature of stress, resilience, uncertainty and the perils of the human condition. And to teach practical wellbeing strategies on how to live a happy, healthy, more successful life.
The secret is, that our brains are constantly telling us stories. The problem is, they are not always positive stories. Stress & anxiety don’t discriminate and as many of us know, someone can have it all and still somehow feel nothing. But, as Aaron illustrates, we have incredible power over our thoughts and emotions and can train our minds and our bodies to be healthier and more productive for ourselves and others. Aaron offers tangible tools and tips that demonstrate just how simple it can be to improve our wellbeing and resilience and markedly improve the way we attend to our deeply intrinsic psychological needs to be heard, to be autonomous, to feel a sense of belonging and to live with a stronger sense of purpose and meaning.
To close, Aaron and Samuel join together on-stage for a final instalment. A free-for-all. No question too large. No no-go zones. No sweeping, no carpet. This is the point of ‘Life-Stuff’. To crush the stigma collectively and give every Australian the education, inspiration and tools in their toolbelt to stress-less, manage uncertainty and live a happy, healthy, more successful life.
We live in a high-stress, fast-paced, uncertain and often challenging world. The constant, intense nature of modern life has many of us feeling overwhelmed and lost about how to change the way we live.– Keith
Aaron’s plenary presentation was rated highly with an overall score of 4.5 / 5.0. The feedback from
the delegates was overwhelmingly positive. Aaron’s approach was exceptional as he related the
difficult topic of mental health to the audience and provide simple techniques to help the audience
maintain their own mental health.
In my view, he is one of the top speakers in the mental health area in Australia and I highly
Samuel made an incredible speech that ended the conference on exactly the note we were after. Samuel was very
generous with telling his story. He truly deserved the standing ovation he got.
We have had the pleasure of booking Sam for News Corporation corporate events on many
Having produced more than two-hundred events, it is rare for us to see a speaker who can engage with the crowd, have them crying with heartfelt stories and have them crying with laughter, all in the same hour.
Sam is meticulous in his planning; his delivery is authentic and his story-telling draws the guests into his world. He is gracious with photos and autographs and we think he is simply amazing. We love working with him, whenever we have the opportunity to do so.– News Corporation Australia
Samuel Johnson provided an emotion-filled, raw and thoroughly inspiring presentation that provided our members with plenty of food for thought. I could not recommend Samuel highly enough.”– Prof. Andrew Conway FIPA FFA, CEO Institute of Public Accountants
Aaron Williams & Samuel Johnson were the keynote speakers at OnePath’s “APEX Inspire 2018:
Beyond Advice” national roadshow, which took place over five locations in May 2018 and was
attended by over 450 advisers.
The keynote was titled “Being Your Best” and focused on why it’s important to be aware of mental
health and wellbeing, and how to identify people who are struggling with their health and wellness.
Aaron shared with delegates tips and strategies for helping advisors and their clients with mental
health and wellbeing, provided access to online tools and resources, and presented a helpful outline
on how to have the sometimes difficult conversation “Are you okay?”.
The feedback we received from attending guests was very positive
The keynote delivered fantastic feedback and was an incredibly impactful 90 minutes. Aaron and
Samuel Johnson were able to get to the heart of the issue for the largely male audience, while still
engaging with the women in the room as well.
Aaron’s messages about the power you have over your thoughts, as well as how you can train your
mind, as well as your body, really hit a chord with the audience.
I would thoroughly recommend engaging Aaron & Sam to speak with anyone who is in the business
of dealing with human beings and understanding what makes them tick a bit better and how you
might help someone really in need.