“James is dedicated to the change the stigma that surrounds mental health and raise the profile of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. James strives to advocate for the lived experience community and continues to be a catalyst for positive systems level change.”

James Maskey is a passionate lived experience and stigma reduction professional, striving to enhance the mental, personal and social wellbeing of the emergency services community.

James is also a retired front-line Queensland Police Officer with a service history including General Duties and the Child Protection & Investigation Unit. In 2013, James was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Since this time, James has been a consumer of the Queensland and Victorian mental health systems.

James remains a tireless advocate of creating and maintaining mentally healthy workplaces in the emergency services sector. A workplace that is supportive and non-judgmental is one that is mentally safe and healthy. Creating a mentally healthy workplace needs to be as important for emergency service organisations as creating a physically healthy workplace. To do this, emergency service agencies must tackle stigma.

To tackle stigma and improve help-seeking behaviours in the emergency services sector, James is inspired to bring the voice of the lived experience community front and centre, to reinforce the view that true strength comes from recognising when you need help and having the courage to ask for it.

In supporting the lived experience community to come forward, James also supports executive and front line leaders in the emergency services sector to drive cultural change and implement policies and practices that have a tangible impact for those on the ground. While its essential to empower the lived experience community to put their hand up and ask for help, how they are treated and supported after they take the leap is just as important.

Stigma is a complex and deeply embedded issue in the emergency services sector that requires industry-led and sustained educational, cultural and policy changes. James is a committed advocate for these changes, and seeks to promote an appreciation of how common it is to experience mental health challenges and how people will mental health conditions can remain functioning and thriving at work.

For his ongoing mental health advocacy pursuits, in March 2020, James was recognised as one of 25 Pro Bono Australia Impact 25 Award recipients for 2019. This award acknowledges inspiring and influential people in the social economy as voted by their peers and industry. In May 2019, James was announced as a finalist in the Victorian Young Achiever of the Year Award in the ‘Create Change’ category.

As a world record holder and ultra-endurance athlete, James has represented Australia on the world stage in ultra-marathon running, raising funds for mental health organisations. James utilises his endurance pursuits as a platform to passionately share his own lived experience of mental health difficulties, challenge mental health stigma and encourage the help-seeking behaviours of others who may be impacted by mental health conditions.