Tennille Mares

Geoscientist and Mental Health Advocate


Energy and Resources, Gender, Mental Health and Wellbeing, Voluntary Work

Travels From Adelaide


Tennille has worked as a Geoscientist in academia and industry for the last ~17 years. While outwardly looking successful, in her previous marriage she was subjected to reproductive coercion and various forms of abuse causing considerable isolation and humiliation. Eventually, between work stress and home stress, she called an ambulance after a suspected stroke at the end of 2015.

It turned out to be a complete mental break down and changed her life as she knew it. Unable to control the physical and mental symptoms, she finally had to ask for help and has been openly living with generalised anxiety disorder and depression (with some suicidal ideation) ever since.

After a company wide safety initiative failed to mention mental health on the list, she decided wider honest conversations were more important than her own self comfort. She developed a presentation covering the Australian statistics, financial cost (to the company and the individual) when mental health is not taken seriously, what happens after you ask for help, the realities of the journey to 'recovery', managing your condition at work and things that you think are helpful to say but really are not. She first presented it as a normal safety moment to an unsuspecting audience in 2019.

After the shock of open dialogue about self harm wore off, she received many grateful emails sharing experiences and requests to present to other team meetings. These later presentations often led to extended open discussions. She found that most people really wanted to talk, they just needed to feel safe to do so and for someone to break the ice.

She continued to advocate for psychological safety and awareness in the workplace until leaving the company in April 2020.