Honour roll

Past Award Nominees and Recipients

Young Australian of the Year


2018 NSW Young Australian of the Year Nominee

Joel Pilgrim

State: New South Wales

Mental health champion and surf therapist

A mental health Occupational Therapist and passionate surfer, Joel Pilgrim has seen the positive impacts surfing can have on people’s lives. Joel runs the Waves of Wellness (WOW) Foundation, a surf therapy charity that delivers innovative programs for people experiencing mental health challenges. Joel’s eight-week learn-to-surf program promotes mental health and wellbeing, and fosters social inclusion. A university lecturer and international speaker, Joel is elevating the national discussion about mental health in a diverse range of settings, including schools, corporate workplaces and everywhere in between. He is also the author of a children’s book, Stand Up Stand Out, which he wrote to help change people’s perceptions about mental health. Through conversations, connections and practical solutions, Joel is making an invisible issue more visible. His vision is for a world in which there is no stigma around mental health issues, and where people struggling can find support and pathways to recovery.