Interview with Joe Williams, 2018 LiFE Award Winner in Communities Matter Category

Jul 24, 2018, 03:07 PM

Running time 17.41

In 2018 Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA) celebrated the 15th Annual LiFE Awards recognising excellence in suicide prevention. The 2018 National Suicide Prevention Conference Dinner played host to this important event and was a chance for the whole sector to appreciate the innovative work being undertaken by our peers and colleagues.

The Awards are a prestigious national event that attracts nominations from all areas including business, industry, media, community, government, youth research and medicine – all with an interest in suicide prevention. Nominations are received from all over Australia, and we were delighted with the number of quality nominations this year showcasing the exciting and diverse range of work being undertaken within the field.

The nominees range from mainstream programs to local ‘grass roots’ organisations and dedicated individuals. The Awards celebrate the commitment and energy of the nominees and their vital contribution to the reduction of suicide within our communities.

At the Award Ceremony, we were delighted to present Joe Williams with the Communities Matter (Individual) Award. Below is a little bit more information about Joe and the work does.

We hope you enjoy our conversation with him following his award win.

Joe Williams is a proud Wiradjuri First Nations man who not only educates on suicide prevention and mental wellbeing, but also proudly shares his Aboriginal Culture. He speaks of how being spiritually connected and living by the four core values of Love, Care, Respect & Humility he has managed to heal and overcome the adversity he has faced as an Aboriginal man living with mental illness and suicidal ideation.

Joe was invited to deliver his 'The Enemy Within' sessions in the remote West Australian community of Carnarvon in conjunction with the local Aboriginal Medical Service. Over three days Joe delivered sessions to various community groups. His ability to connect with such a diverse range of people stems from his own personal pain which he describes in an honest and raw way.

This program has had a lasting impact on the community resulting in invitations to return to the community on multiple occasions. Communities see first-hand the significant contribution Joe is making in the suicide prevention sector in Australia and how he is improving the lives of First Nations people through his work.


It is so important to talk openly and safely about suicide but, if listening to this triggers difficult emotions in you, please talk about how you’re feeling with a trusted family member, friend or people at one of our partner organisations. Call Lifeline on 131114, MensLine 1300 78 99 78, Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 or Kids Helpline 1800 551800 FREE. Click here for a comprehensive list of these and other support services.