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A trade-qualified painter and decorator in Castlemaine for almost 20 years, Jeremy (Jez) has experienced the highs and lows associated with the building industry financially, physically and mentally and would like tradies to be more conscious of how depression, stress, tiredness and frustration can impact their lives and loved ones around them.

“The pain of regret is far greater than the pain of hard work.”


Catherine Pilgrim is a Visual Artist and mother of two boys living in Central Victoria. A co-founder of HALT, Catherine is committed to helping spread the positive message that groups such as LIFELINE and BEYOND BLUE are available when people need them.



Mark Foley brings a rich combination of skills and experience to HALT. A long-time local of South East Melbourne, Mark is based in the South East region and keen to support his local community of trade and blue collar workers.

While Mark can be found with a whistle in hand on a Saturday afternoon keeping the local footy game on track in his spare time, he has strong community engagement and rapport building skills from a career working across a range of sectors. Mark can strike up a yarn with pretty much anyone and quickly builds trust and comfort with his audience.

Mark has previously been a volunteer with Lifeline and understands the role good mental health and wellbeing plays in reducing rates of suicide.


Jem is a Project Worker in the North West Melbourne region. Drummer, screen printer and cook – he’s worked with his hands his whole life. He is passionate about reducing the stigmas that surround mental health and help-seeking.

Jem believes that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s an act of bravery.




Meet Ross!

As Owner & Director of VR Builders, he oversees the entire business operations, and monitors each construction project from initial client contact to handover and beyond.

On becoming a Registered Builder in 2005, Ross started his own company that has evolved into what VR Builders is today. He remains passionate about, and committed to, the building industry and seeks to promote and model best-practice of it. He is extremely proud of his team; great people that produce outstanding work.

Ross is a family man and loves being with his children; Janelle, Patrick & Ned, and partner Linda. If you can’t get hold of Ross after hours, he’s likely on his mower or on his motorbike.

I have been an avid supporter of HALT from the beginning and have been on the board since its inception. I am very proud to take up this position and hope to make a positive contribution through my incumbency.


Ange works in Healthcare as a Community Health Nurse and has experience in the Primary Care Partnership sector. She has been witness to the gaps in mental health awareness and connection to services.

Ange has felt the impact of mental health issues on loved ones and her community, and has worked with and supported HALT since 2015.



Ben Harding joined the HALT Committee in 2023. He brings 30 years of video production and social media experience to the role. He has made documentaries for ABC and SBS television, worked with major corporations on corporate communications, and spearhead online campaigns for small and medium businesses and charities. He is looking forward to bringing his communication skills to the team at HALT, assisting in their life-saving work. Currently residing in Castlemaine, Ben has two children, a wonderful partner, a very old cat, six chickens and a Border Collie who rounds them all up.



My name is Justine. I currently reside in Broken Hill, NSW and work as a Registered Nurse at the local Community Health Centre however I grew up in Kerang, Vic on our family farm which is now owned and run by my brother. I love cooking, reading and going out camping or on adventures. I have strong connection with health as my mum, Jenny, is also a nurse. While growing up I was obsessed with medication books and how the human body works.

I finished a bachelor degree in Health Promotion in Bendigo almost a decade ago and then travelled parts of the world. After travelling I found it difficult to find a job with my degree because they wanted people to have someone with experience and I had, well, none!

I ended up moving to W.A. and worked on a cattle station in the Pilbara on Glenflorrie Station with an amazing crew. I loved this experience, however I came home with severe anxiety and mild depression. I got a job at the local Community Health Centre in Kerang and worked there for two years. During this time football saved my life, then yoga did. I joined the Loddon Mallee Community Leadership Program and one aspect of the program was to run a community project. I wanted to focus on Mental Health since it has affected my life, so I chose to work with HALT after listening to Jeremy during the program and in the past working with him while I had worked at Community Health. I hosted it at my local football and netball club and I think it helped everyone gain some understanding about mental health and how it affects every person. One community member and local farmer approached me and talked about his own experiences and this helped me realise that mental health affects more people than you initially realise.

I’ve chosen to join the HALT committee to support HALT to provide programs and services to local services and, most importantly, people.



Merv Stewart is passionate about making a difference and he has the drive and experience to make meaningful things happen with the doers he respects and admires. He understands that collaboration and connections are paramount – constantly reaching out to others, seeing what he can learn from them, what knowledge he can share, what ideas and opportunities can come out of potential partnerships and collaboration.

Merv has been a strong and constant supporter of HALT’s meaningful grassroots work since he first saw founder Jeremy Forbes speak at a conference 6 years ago. Since then he’s worked alongside Jeremy to assist in sharing the HALT messages on a national scale. Merv is now responsible in his own community of the Mornington Peninsula for delivering quarterly HALT blitz week events alongside Jeremy. He is honoured to be able to use his program delivery and social enterprise skills to assist HALT to grow its amazing impact further across Australia in the coming years.


Painter, photographer, designer and amateur lion tamer, Michael Wolfe has been painting pictures, taking photographs, designing books, magazines and corporate images, writing songs and making music for most of his adult life. Michael works as an artist, designer and conservation picture framer and runs Union Studio Picture Framers and Fine Art Printers in Castlemaine Victoria.