Kia ora! Redpanther is a Melbourne-based research and evaluation company led by me, Graham Panther.
Redpanther is driven by a simple idea. We want to make it easier for Aussies and Kiwis to get help when they’re in distress. We do this by supporting a whole lot of great health, mental health and social agencies, with research and evaluation tools, with bespoke training for their workforce, and by lending our experience and topic knowledge to social change projects.
I know a bit about Australia and New Zealand’s mental health systems, from a few angles. Back home in Aotearoa, I worked in a range of community mental health organisations before setting up as a consultant in 2011. Since then, I’ve worked mainly as a consultant, evaluating and designing services and service systems on both sides of the ditch – working with community mental health orgs, primary health networks, district health boards, and various branches of federal, state, and local government.
And here’s the personal bit. Why do I do this work? Because I’ve experienced profound periods of crisis and distress myself.
What do people need when they’re doing it really tough? Three things I reckon, in a nutshell. Hope, connection, and meaning. Hope that things will get better. Connection with other people who get it, who’ve been right there where you are. And meaning – finding some way to make sense of all the messiness, in whatever way speaks to you.
Cards on the table, that’s why I think peer support is best thing we’ve got for helping people not just stay alive, but love their lives. Most of my work is related to peer support somehow – setting up and evaluating peer services, training peer workers and their managers.
In 2017, I co-founded The Big Feels Club with the fabulous Honor Eastly. It’s a unique, art-based approach to mental health that saw over 1000 signups in our first week(!), with club members now joining us from all over Australia, New Zealand, and beyond, to feel a little less alone in their brains. Read more about the what and the why of that here. It’ll give you a pretty good indication of what I’m all about.