Can you tell our readers what a normal day looks like for Daniel Angus?
I don’t think I have a ‘normal’ day.
Vulnerable but exceptional members of our community invite me into their lives during my psychology consultations. Some days I am with clients as they visit some of their most difficult days… on others I might be sharing in the experiences of living in far-flung countries from around the world, or of exploring the challenges of substance use or the highs and lows of parenthood… no session is the same!
On other days I am privileged to support, mentor and train early career psychologists as they embark on their adventures in the mental health sector assisting those in need of help.
Sometimes I am consulting with organisations, providing advice on topics, helping set up mental health services or visiting declared mental health facilities.
How important is diversity to you and in the work that you do?
Almost 30% of our state were born in non-English speaking countries (almost 40% in Western Sydney where I live and work!). Many of these people have come to Australia seeking a better life, new opportunities or escaping horrible circumstances…mental illness does not discriminate, and often sustained adversities can contribute significantly to the quality of life and wellbeing of people – living and working in this region offers me the opportunity to connect with people who have come from all around the world and who have made their home in Australia. Sometimes culture, stigma or perceptions of authority or health services can create barriers to accessing good and timely support – it is critical that we assertively engage, learn from and invite cultural diversity and inclusiveness into our helping professions to better engage and meet the needs of these communities.
Have you ever faced challenges in your professional career from others because of your identity and if so, how were you able to overcome that?
Growing up biracial meant that it had always been difficult for me to find my place in the world. Whilst I embraced the gift of being connected with multiple cultures, I didn’t always meet the ‘membership requirements’ to take part fully – perhaps one of the reasons my parents elected to gift me with an anglicized name. Perceptions based on my appearance or where I live or was educated whilst rarely overt always played a role – sometimes perhaps only in my own head but there nonetheless… Over time though I have learnt to lean into my ‘insider knowledges’. I am a kinder and more reassuring friend to myself. I put my hand up for roles that I may have otherwise assumed were only open to candidates with particular ‘membership’ – acknowledging that I have perspectives, experiences and knowledges often not represented – and to my delight organisations are gradually shifting to a more inclusive and interested space that values representative contributions from our community.
ADVICE FOR THE YOUTH
You have stories, experiences, perspectives, ideas and knowledges to contribute. Greater representation and contributions from diverse communities means better outcomes for these communities. Be kind to yourself, seek out allies and mentors and keep pushing forward…
Want to follow and support DANIEL ANGUS?
About the diversity champion:
Prior to Canteen, Daniel worked in the community sector as manager of Headspace Services in Mt Druitt where he oversaw the Headspace Youth Early Psychosis Program and the Primary Care programs. Whilst working here, Daniel also managed the operations of Headspace Penrith and the adult LikeMind centres. He is passionate about creative recovery, focused and collaborative approaches in the mental health sector, an example of which has been the PetSpace program run in Western Sydney that teaches young people with mental health problems how to support animals. Daniel has worked with people of all ages in a variety of community, inpatient, custodial and employment settings and has a keen interest in early intervention and adolescent mental health. Daniel is proud of his Vietnamese-Australian heritage and is also interested in the plight of refugees and asylum seekers living in New South Wales.
Image description: Daniel is giving a speech whilst wearing a black blazer and orange shirt