How do our minds work?

Practical strategies for optimum mental health 

What is really going on 'under the hood'? What can we do each day to improve our own - and our collective - mental health? In this Sydney Ideas event, a team of experts share cutting-edge research and explore practical ways to reach peak mind and brain health.

Hear James O'Loghlin in conversation with Professor Ian HickieAssociate Professor Liz Scott and researcher Alexis Hutcheon from the Brain and Mind Centre as they reveal fascinating insights into how our minds work.

We explore everything from the physiology of anxiety to the role genetics, our environment and even our body clock play in determining our mental well-being. Take away practical strategies on how we can change and improve our mental health and find a pathway to a more fulfilling life.

This conversation is for anyone who wants the best for their mental health. We also hear about James and Ian’s new book, Minding your Mind, based on their popular podcast.

This online event was held on 27 October to mark Mental Health Month, and co-presented with the Brain and Mind Centre.

Catch on-demand

Watch the video

Listen to the podcast

About the speakers

James O’Loghlin is a television and radio host, comedian, and author of twelve books, including five non-fiction books and seven novels, most recently Criminals in 2022. He has hosted 4 television shows including over 300 episodes of the much loved The New Inventors on ABC-TV.  He also hosted popular radio shows on ABC Local Radio for 15 years. He currently co-hosts the Minding Your Mind podcast with Professor Ian Hickie. and they have just published the book version, also called Minding Your Mind. James also works with organisations and individuals to help them to be more innovative.

Professor Ian Hickie is a Professor of Psychiatry and Co-Director, Health and Policy at the Brain and Mind Centre. He has led major public health and health services developments, particularly focusing on early intervention for young people with depression, suicidal thoughts and behaviours and complex mood disorders. He is active in the development through codesign, implementation and continuous evaluation of new health information and personal monitoring technologies to drive highly-personalized and measurement-based care.

Associate Professor Elizabeth Scott has expertise in youth mood disorders, service developments for youth mental health, as well as sleep and circadian dysfunction.  She is a Principal Research Fellow at the Brain and Mind Centre and has extensive experience in developing and evaluating comprehensive assessment and management programs for young people with mental health problems through her work with the Brain & Mind Centre as well as the headspace programs.

Alexis Hutcheon is a Lived Experience Researcher at The University of Sydney’s Brain & Mind Centre. She has over 10 years’ experience managing some of Sydney’s leading private mental health services.  The knowledge gained through this experience as well as having her own lived experience in mental-ill health, aids to inform her work at the Youth Mental Health & Technology Team, where a huge focus of our research is collaborating with young people with lived experience, and youth services across Australia. 

Zsofi de Haan has a number of years experience as a family peer worker for Orygen, where she provided emotional support and psychoeducation to the families and carers of young people experiencing mental health challenges. Zsofi also co-designed and implemented the Orygen Young Carers Project, providing emotional support to young carers attending Headspace. 


  • Lifeline: or 13 11 14
  • National Indigenous Critical Response Service: 1800 805 801

For children and youth