Mental Mates Incorporated became incorporated in June 2019. We are governed by five volunteer board members with a range of background and experience. The Board meets monthly to plan and strategise where the organise is heading.
Learn more about our board members below.
Qualified Diesel Mechanic
Qualified Mental Health First Aider
Owned and ran own business for ten years
Management positions in farming and mining expansion
Coach of The Brahmans Rugby Union Football Club, played rugby for 22 years and captained 8 sides.
Passionate about rural and remote Australia.
Katherine Citizen of the Year 2017
In October 2015 Dylan Lewis sent a call to the community, to join him and the Brahmans Football Team in helping their mates to build their skills to help a mate who might be at risk of suicide. Dylan sent out this call in response to the terribly sad loss of team member earlier that year and to the growing concern for far too many of our young people, and adults, who end their lives through suicide.
The community did respond and Dylan began the journey, with the support of community members, sporting members, businesses and organisations, to build the skills of our community to stop suicide. The community were inspired by Dylan and his personal story shared without hesitation, highlighting how first and foremost it is mates that help mates, and its mates that are there in a person’s greatest hour of need, and mates who can make the difference.
Jeff is a fully qualified Cabinetmaker with 30 years’ experience in the building industry.
Jeff has been the Deputy President of the Katherine Off Road Motorcycle Club,
President of the Brahman’s Rugby Union Football Club (BRUFC).
Jeff is the Director of Custom Cabinets Katherine. Jeff has been in business for 23 years, opening in Darwin then quickly expanding to Katherine after assisting with the clean up following the ’98 flood. Jeff has extensive experience in business management and a long history of community involvement, having been President of the Brahmans for 10 years and counting, as well as an active contributor to the Camels Football Club, Katherine Off Road Motorcycle Club, Dolly’s Dream Foundation and Mental Mates, to name just a few.
In 2015 the Brahmans were hit by a succession of suicides of club members, leaving the community reeling and senior members of the club asking what can be done to prevent further tragedies. When Dylan Lewis started Mental Mates Jeff was very keen to get on board and support the initiative.
Jeff first arrived in Katherine in ’94 and lives here with his wife and three children. Having now lived in Katherine longer than anywhere else he considers himself a local.
Melinda (Mel) Whelan
Diploma of Finance and Mortgage Broking Management,
Member of MFAA (Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia),
Member of AFCA (Australian Finance Complaints Authority)
Accredited Youth Mental First Aider,
Treasurer of Katherine Touch Association Inc,
Chairperson for Katherine Rope and Barrel Club,
Finance committee member for Katherine South Primary School,
Director of Whelan Investments (NT) Pty Ltd
Mel is a wife and mum of 2. Mel has been running her successful mortgage broking business in Katherine since 2010. Prior to this she worked in the banking industry for 15 years. Since moving to Katherine in 2006, she has contributed to the community by being on numerous boards over the years. Mel enjoys using her finance and business skills to assist not for profit groups to succeed whilst also providing opportunities for young people to experience different activities in and around Katherine.
Mel herself has suffered mental illness at different times over the years (particularly post natal depression and anxiety). Her daughter, Amelia, has been diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum and she knows all too well about the lack of mental health services in the bush. Mel has also been personally touched by suicide and wants to do all she can to make a difference for her community. Her particular interest lies in the education piece with the hope to remove the stigma of "mental health" in her community and beyond. Mel loves the mantra "mates helping mates" which is why she didn't hesitate to put her hand up to hold a position on the board.
Profile to come
Profile to Come