New podcast, hosted by Coffs Coast locals, aims to help manage mental health

Anna McAfee hosts the new podcast ‘Managing Minds’.


MENTAL health is a major issue across society and the pandemic has brought it more into focus than ever.

A new podcast, called Managing Minds, examines the key issues, such as dealing with bullying and stopping burnout.

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Coffs Coast identity Anna McAfee hosts the podcast, which looks at how managers can better support their teams’ mental health.

Ms McAfee spent her early career in recruitment then moved into social media where she is a LinkedIn trainer and founded the international LinkedIn Local movement.

She said that with many managers in Australia virtually falling into leadership roles, few have learnt how to build a mentally healthy workplace and the podcast helps them to start that process.

Ms McAfee said, “I landed in a leadership role in my early 20’s and, even though I’d studied psychology at university, I knew I was out of my depth.

“I want to be able to help others in the same position,” she said.

The podcast series leans on research and lived experience experts who share the best ways for managers to improve the mental health of their workplaces.

One is the Chief Medical Officer for the Australian Federal Police, Dr Katrina Saunders who said, “Evidence tells us that the single greatest predictor for injured workers to stay at work or to return to work is their direct supervisor so the support that that middle manager plays is critical.

The show’s Executive Producer Liz Keen has worked on award-winning podcasts for the ABC and has also been a leader in that tough news environment.

“I put up my hand to be the Chief of Staff working across bureaus because I really wanted to do it,” she said.

“And, while I was supported by Human Resources and my manager, it was incredibly stressful to deal with bullying and mental health issues without training.

“I wish I had had this podcast to listen to.”

Ms McAfee said, “We started recording the interviews for this series earlier this year, when Australia was opening up, going back into the office, and emerging from a global pandemic.

“Never did I imagine that it would be released when over 13 million people across Australia are locked down.”

Managing Minds is produced by Ms Keen and her husband Simon Portus through their Sawtell based media company, Headline Productions.

It is funded by the State Insurance Regulatory Authority’s Recovery Boost program.

The locally-based production team also includes Dr James Donnelly, an assistant professor at Southern Cross University, who has conducted the fact checking for the podcast and features as a guest.

The podcast can be found at and on all podcast apps.

For more information contact Liz Keen on 0492 911 292 or at [email protected].


By Andrew VIVIAN

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