island entertainment presents

Dean Yates – Keynote Speaker


Putting mental health on everyone’s agenda! Dean Yates

Few people in Australia can tell a story like former foreign correspondent Dean Yates, whose globally acclaimed memoir Line in the Sand was published in mid-2023.

Dean takes his audiences to the wars, bomb attacks and earthquakes he covered during a long career for one of the world’s most respected news organisations. He describes the pain he and his family suffered after the trauma of what he witnessed caught up with him. He puts you in the Melbourne psychiatric ward, where he had three admissions to treat his PTSD and moral injury. Such has been Dean’s journey that he and his family were featured in an episode of Australian Story in Sept 2023.

Dean is now a workplace mental health expert who uses his vast personal and professional experience to help organisations support their staff.

All this gives Dean enormous insight into mental health and trauma and makes him an inspirational, riveting, and educational speaker.

Renowned psychologist Steve Biddulph says Line in the Sand is a "world-class guidebook on dealing with traumatic wounds". Jacquie Lambie calls it a “gripping read that exposes the shocking holes in our health system when it comes to the treatment of PTSD”. Well-known psychiatrist and author Dr Mark Cross said the memoir is an “astonishing account of trauma”. Trauma therapist & author Dr Polly McGee says Dean has “levelled up his own vulnerability by fully reporting the disintegration of selfhood and its painful reclamation, giving survivors of trauma and the people that love them new insight and hope for recovery”. Greens Senator for Tasmania Peter Whish-Wilson says Dean’s story is like no other.

Dean’s speaking topics are varied: His healing journey; what a mentally healthy workplace looks like; trauma & moral injury; men and emotions; eyewitness to the world; navigating life.

Topic 1
A jaw-dropping story. Inspiring and hopeful

Dean was a high-flying foreign correspondent brought to the brink of suicide by extreme workplace trauma who recovered because of his obsession to get better and the human connection of his loving family and a mental health system that worked (yes, you read that correctly).

Topic 2 The pillars of a mentally healthy workplace
Dean speaks with authority on what he calls the 6 pillars of a mentally healthy workplace: Leadership buy-in; psychological safety; prevention & early intervention, multi-layered organisational support; evidence-based training and good communication.


Topic 3 Trauma
Dean’s memoir is a life-changing roadmap for anyone trying to heal from trauma. Dean explains the moral dimension of trauma, he shows the consequences when organisations fail to look after their people.

Topic 4 Moral Injury
Dean is an Australian expert on moral injury, a condition akin to PTSD that can occur in any occupation/walk of life. Moral injury is starting to get attention because it can happen when someone’s idea of what’s right has been violated strongly enough. The possibilities for harm are endless.

Topic 5 Breaking Stigma
No matter the context, Dean has a story to tell about stigma: around suicide, mental illness in the workplace, in-patient psych wards. Dean is passionate about breaking stigma, and you will be too after listening to him.

Topic 6 Men!
Dean has instant credibility with men, whether they wear suits or Hi-Vis vests, which is why he's the ideal speaker at showing men the benefits of seeking mental health support and expressing their emotions.

Topic 7 Eyewitness to the world
Dean covered some of the biggest global stories of the past 25 years. Why do journalists risk their lives? What do they take from these experiences, the loss of life? Does reporting on ordinary people matter as much as wanting to be there when Saddam Hussein gets captured?

Topic 8 Navigating Life
Dean’s family have been through the wringer, and not just from having to deal with him! Dean’s wife has had depression all her life. Their children, now young adults, have had mental health issues. Dean’s eldest son survived a cardiac arrest in 2020.

I was fortunate enough to have someone recommend Dean to me and I am delighted I reached out. Dean’s keynote presentation at the (2023) Tasmanian Suicide Prevention Forum was insightful and engaging, and his passion for reducing the stigma associated with suicidality was evident from start to finish. What impressed me the most about Dean was his ability to connect with the audience and deliver his message in a relatable and impactful way. His personal experiences and stories were powerful and moving, and helped to break down the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide. His expertise, compassion, and dedication to the cause are truly inspiring, and I have no doubt his message will resonate with anyone who has the privilege of hearing him speak.

Beth Rad, Coordinator Suicide Prevention, Relationships Tasmania.

We invited Dean to our AGM to talk to members about Mental Health in the workplace, and the importance of disconnecting from work outside of working hours. Dean was an exceptional speaker, sharing his story and experiences in such a thoughtful and generous way that it encouraged many of our members to share their own stories of workplace stress. Dean was engaging, warm and authentic, and really connected with participants in a meaningful way. Dean’s presentation was the highlight for many, and we look forward to working with him again in the future so we can share his gift of storytelling with many more members.

Alycia Vasilangos, Principal Industrial Officer, Local Government Engineers’ Association, NSW.

Dean’s credibility and value lies in his knowledge about the topics but even more from his lived experience both with trauma and trying to shift organizational culture around mental health. His uniqueness lies in the stories he shares, how he transmits them as well as his capacity to listen to what participants have to say and to the questions they ask with curiosity and compassion. He is respectful and flexible as a trainer and is able to tune into and shift to what participants need, at any moment. He is collaborative and challenging at the same time which makes him a valuable colleague. He is always willing to go the extra mile because of his dedication and passion for what he does

Kim Brice, co-founder of The Self-Investigation Media Foundation, Europe.