Grahame Gould

2014 Community Service Alumni Award

Executive Director (CEO) Lifeline South Coast

Master of Clinical Psychology, 2000

The philosopher, William James, once wrote: “Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact”. Professional, committed and caring, Grahame Gould has lived by that principle and worked to share its message with others.

Grahame began an enduring association with Lifeline when he was still a student at the University of Wollongong. His instinct to understand and reach out to help was also evident in his choice of profession. Grahame studied psychology, the science of understanding human behaviour, attaining first a Bachelor and then a Master’s degree. He joined Lifeline South Coast in 1993 as a clinical psychologist and soon became the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer.

Lifeline is a national charity which has become an icon. Its mission is to provide all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. It helps people suffering from depression, loneliness, abuse and trauma. Grahame Gould has been Lifeline’s face and ambassador in this region, going beyond the mere coordination of services to engage with a wide spectrum of the local community.

Grahame’s crusading engagement has extended from the local to the national level. He has carried the message of life and hope into various committees and forums, including the Illawarra Division of General Practice and Medicare Local. He has also promoted positive mental health more broadly in the community through initiatives such as the Good Mood Safari. In his region, he has supported initiatives in high schools, including the development of video and online resources.

He is also a major driver of the local Lifeline Book Fair, a celebrated annual event which not only brings in important revenue but also promotes the use of Lifeline’s services to an extremely wide cross section of the local community. At the national level, Grahame has made significant contributions to Lifeline, Australia-wide and remains an active voice in trying to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of Lifeline services.

In the language of his field, Grahame Gould’s achievements can be judged by their impact. Under his leadership, Lifeline South Coast is one of the most respected of Lifeline’s services. As a direct impact, it has saved lives. Grahame’s active role in mental health promotion, particularly to young people, and his ability to collaborate with other health and community organisations have helped to reduce delays in seeking treatment and thus reduced the psychological distress or progression of symptoms related to mental disorders.

Grahame Gould is an exceptional example of combining theory and practice to great effect and good. The theory which he studied at this University and the experience he gained in active engagement with the community, came together in the production of the “Good Mood Guide”, a self-help book for the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Developed, trialled and evaluated in the Illawarra, the program’s results were published in an international journal. It has subsequently been translated into Thai and found to be effective in that cultural context. More locally and very practically, Grahame used his knowledge of international research to lobby Wollongong City Council for a crisis telephone line at a local suicide “hot spot” location.

Chancellor, Grahame Gould is a fearless and passionate leader, practitioner and advocate. The University is proud to claim him as a graduate. The community, and especially its most vulnerable members, are fortunate to have him “in their corner”.

It is a privilege to present Grahame Gould for the UOW Community Service Alumni Award for 2014.