Member profile
Full name:
Donna Zander
Role and company:
What do you love and/or inspires you most about being a social worker?
Over the last 30 years since I graduated as a social worker I have had the privilege of sharing people's journeys of life’s pain, joy and discovery and in this process have met some amazingly inspirational people who have supported change with me in the world to make it a better place for all.  I love being able to be passionate about social justice and human rights, in particular, the right to live in a safe world and to be educated to one's full potential.  I have lived to mentor and teach others in our field and feel confident to hand on the baton to the next generation of advocates and social change agents to follow.  I am proud to have educated those in places like Bougainville, Fiji and Israel and am excited about our upcoming Conference in August : Come Play with me Fiji! Trauma is the opportunity to educate, invigorate and capacity build. I am excited about the impact it is already having and will have on this island nation.
Who has been the most inspiring role model in your career and why?
There have been many inspiring role models such as: Mother Teresa, Sister Lorraine Garasu,  Maya Angelou, Pat Ogden, Dr. Bruce Perry, Dr Ann O’Neil (Western Australian social worker), Angela Barker and most importantly my mother for their patience, compassion, knowledge, understanding and love. 
What is the best advice you can give to someone starting out in their career?
Self-care is very important in social work, however it is not always about planning a four week vacation, it is also about being present in the moment, taking the time to centre yourself and breathe because waiting for that vacation does not help to get through the stresses of each day.   It is very important to remember that the social worker is human too!! Even though to me social work is more than a profession it is a passion, a lifelong journey, we learn, reflect and grow along the way.
If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead, who would it be and why?
My mother who passed away 10 years ago, so I would reconnect with her, sharing a hug, laugh and a smile and celebrating with her my life’s successes and challenges.

Saving Lives. Saving Money: A Snapshot of Mental Health in Victoria


Mental Health Victoria has launched a major report which maps out the economic case for investment in Victoria's mental health system. According to the report, Saving Lives, Saving Money the Victorian mental health system now lags behind other Australian states and territories and this is having a growing impact on consumers, emergency services, hospitals, homelessness services and the justice system in the state. 


Expanded mental health care access for reservists


Eligibility for non-liability mental health treatment will be expanded to Australian Defence Force (ADF) Reservists who have disaster relief or border protection service or have been involved in a serious military service-related training accident.

The Australian Government announced the initiative as part of the 2018–19 Budget to support veterans and their families. It will take effect from 1 July 2018.


Lack of mental health support for young people living in regional and remote Australia


Young people living in regional and remote Australia are being let down by a lack of support services, according to a new report released on Thursday by ReachOut and Mission Australia: Lifting the weight: understanding young people’s mental health and service needs in regional and remote Australia. The report found almost a quarter of young people in regional and remote Australia had a serious mental illness. The report calls for increased funding and support for schools to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people.


Addressing the rural mental health crisis


The National Rural Health Alliance has released new analysis revealing just how few mental health professionals work in rural and remote Australia.  Built from a number of AIHW data sets the new analysis shows the huge disparity in access between major cities and country areas.


Diagnosis in child mental health


This week CFCA has released Diagnosis in child mental health: Exploring the benefits, risks and alternatives. This paper, co-produced by CFCA and Emerging Minds, is designed to encourage practitioners in the child and family welfare sector to examine their own understanding of mental health diagnostic systems, and to critically reflect on the role that diagnosis plays in their work with children and families.


Business tips: self-employment and private practice

AASW has published guidance on self-employment/private practice. Many social workers who are self-employed and work in a clinical capacity have been assessed and approved by the AASW as Accredited Mental Health Social Workers (AMHSWs). The AASW encourages social workers who intend to work as self-employed clinicians to apply for accreditation as a mental health social worker. AMHSWs can apply through Medicare for a provider number which enables them to see private clients under several government funded programs.
  1. Obtaining business advice (from an accountant or financial advisor)
  2. Attaining a Medicare provider number
  3. Developing systems to support your therapeutic work
  4. Practice location
  5. Advertising your business
  6. Ethical and legal considerations
  7. Self-care
  8. Maintaining your Medicare provider number and AMHSW status

Development of a veteran-centred model: a working paper


Development of a veteran-centred model: a working paper introduces the veteran-centred model. The veteran-centred model is based on the AIHW’s person-centred model and supports a person-centred approach to understanding the experiences and outcomes of Australia’s veterans. This working paper shows how the AIHW person-centred model can be relevantly applied to the veteran population to support holistic analysis and reporting of veterans’ health and welfare.

Read the working paper: Development of a veteran-centred model: a working paper


Innovations in rehabilitation and mental health conference


Promotion photos of the conference

This October, Epworth HealthCare will bring together a host of clinical experts to showcase innovations in clinical practice across rehabilitation, pain and mental health.

Held in Melbourne from 26-27 October, the 2018 Innovations in Rehabilitation and Mental Health National Conference is presented by the Epworth Rehabilitation, Mental Health and Chronic Pain Clinical Institute.

For more information, see their website. 


AASW events


New South Wales

Friday 27 July 2018
9:00 am - 5:00 pm


Thursday 2 August 2018
Thursday 23 August 2018

South Australia

Monday 23 - Friday 27 July 2018
Friday 27 July 2018
9:00 am - 5:00 pm


Thursday 26 July 2018


Wednesday 25 July - Thursday 26 July 2018
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday 27 July 2018
9:15 am - 4:30 pm
This workshop will be proceeded by Securing your first social work role seminar on Wednesday 24 October 2018.
Monday 3 September 2018
2:30 pm - 5:15 pm

Western Australia

Wednesday 25 July 2018
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday 31 July 2018
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm



Stress-proofing the brain - woman's face smiling with glasses against a blue background

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