Past events

DigDiG Festival

16 - 17 October 2014, Newcastle NSW

Panel: Embracing a digital paradigm when communicating about mental health

Both media and the mental health sectors in Australia have embraced the digital age to reach wider and targeted audiences. Many media organisations, individual journalists and mental health agencies, now have a major presence on social media in a relatively short period and, in some cases, leading the way internationally.

This panel session will explore the sophisticated use of digital technology in communicating and engaging about mental health issues, and the opportunities and challenges online environments bring for organisations and communities. The panel brings together a vast wealth of communication experience from leading national mental health agencies and the Australian media.

DiG program imagePanel host: Jaelea Skehan, Hunter Institute of Mental Health


  • Sean Parnell, The Australian
  • Jennifer Muir, Primary Communication
  • Chris Wagner, Mental Health Australia
  • Neal Mann, News Corp Australia 
  • Marc Bryant, Hunter Institute of Mental Health



Marc Bryant

Hunter Institute of Mental Health

Marc works for the Hunter Institute of Mental Health as the national Program Manager for the Community, Media and Arts area, which includes the Mindframe National Media Initiative and Conversations Matter projects. He is a qualified journalist and communication professional.  Marc has 17 years’ experience working in and with the media, both as a senior print journalist (UK), in media and communication for the National Health Service (UK) and the South Australian Health Department (mental health reform), before joining the Hunter Institute as a senior manager in 2009. For Marc Bryant's full biography, click here.  


Neal Mann

News Corp Australia

Neal Mann is currently on secondment to News Corp Australia from the Wall Street Journal where he was Multimedia Innovations Editor. He specialises in changing the way news organizations create digital content.  As part of this role he trains journalists in social media verification and has worked on a number of major social media projects during the Arab Spring including 'Borderlands' which included a year's worth of social media content from Syria.

His projects for the WSJ have been nominated for the European Press Award, Gerald Loeb Award, and he is a 2014 Emmy Award nominee.  Previously he was an international news journalist, covering stories such as the war in Libya.

He is @fieldproducer on Twitter.


Jennifer Muir

Primary Communication

Jennifer is the General Manager of Primary Communication, one of Australia’s leading social issues communication consultancies (

For more than twenty years Jennifer has worked across Australia and Asia, developing solutions for social issues. She is a multi-award-winning communication specialist, with incredibly broad work experience in politics, major events, consumer marketing and entertainment. She has built an enviable portfolio of work, building on her background as an Australian news producer, who has made documentaries in international conflict zones. She is a deft hand at creating influence and awareness of important social issues, as someone who knows when, how and who to work with to achieve long-lasting systemic results.

Jennifer is a registered lobbyist who works closely with corporate and non-profit boards, civil society groups, industry and government leaders, to help them understand and embrace the creation of influence in a fluid and challenging environment. She is a national advocate for women’s rights, child protection and mental health and wellbeing, and is a fellow of the Public Relations Institute of Australia, holding NSW and national representative roles. Her team at Primary works closely with many Australian mental health and wellbeing organisations, using evidence-based collaborative strategies to achieve lasting awareness and sustainable behavioural change.


Sean Parnell

The Australian 

Sean Parnell is the Health Editor and FOI Editor at The Australian newspaper. A multi award-winning journalist, Parnell has worked in the media for 20 years, including a lengthy stint as a political reporter. He is a member of the Open Government Partnership Media Council, a sessional lecturer at Queensland University of Technology, a current affairs panellist for 612 ABC Brisbane and the author of ‘Clive: the Story of Clive Palmer’. Parnell is based in Brisbane, where he lives with his wife and two children. Sean is also a member of the Mindframe Media Advisory Group.



Chris Wagner

Mental Health Australia  

Chris has over a decade of experience in the communication sector, working in ministerial offices, government departments and for a number of not for profit and corporate organisations.

A former journalist, Chris has a background in matters of mental health, suicide, criminal and civil justice, national security and emergency management, as well as grassroots community liaison, amongst others. He is also a White Ribbon Ambassador, married to a fellow communicator and a father of two very talkative kids. Chris is currently Director of Communications for Mental Health Australia (MHA).

Chris and his team have carriage of all the internal and external communications, strategy, planning, campaign management, media, PR, marketing, internal communications and government advocacy efforts for MHA. Chris is also a member of the Mindframe Communication Managers’ Group.


For more information on other presentations and speakers and the DiG Festival, please visit: