Andrew-James (AJ) Tchen, who has Wiradjuri and Wotjobaluk heritage, is respected across the community for his work in mental health training, reconciliation and Aboriginal cultural mentoring programs.
He set up his Girraway Ganyi Consultancy in 2008 with a vision to inspire cultural change and mental health leaders. In 2020, AJ began the YarninBlack podcast and Black Yarns YouTube channel for Aboriginal people to promote storytelling as a way to share truth.
Additionally, AJ runs cultural awareness training for many organisations and mentors Indigenous students at some of Victoria’s independent schools. He has also delivered over 790 mental health first aid courses to over 8400 participants nation-wide.
AJ shares his own story about mental ill health and Stolen Generation issues, emphasising how recent this history is for contemporary Aboriginal people.
A qualified nurse and careers counsellor, AJ was named 2021 Aboriginal Social Worker of the Year by the Australian Association of Social Workers.