Domonique is a performance psychologist who has received a Master of Psychology (Sport and Exercise) from the University of Queensland. She has a diverse range of experience working in mental health including mental health case management, clinical psychology work (assessment and clinical cases), performance psychologist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and several sports academies, spinal cord injury, NDIS, work cover, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and general psychological counselling and services. Domonique is passionate about helping clients improve their quality of life and achieve goals in a safe and heard environment through face-to-face, telehealth, and/or video platform. You can find Domonique working as a Performance Psychologist at the Sports Hub (Sunshine Coast) from the Advanced Health rooms.
Hi there! I am Domonique Doyle. I am a performance psychologist, graduating recently with a masters in psychology (sport and exercise).
What led you to begin a career in psychology?
I have always been so intrigued by human behaviour, what makes people tick, and how to optimise our performance mentally. In fact, just recently I found a printed document I designed for my friend at 12 years of age with an elaborate action plan filled with goals for her to stop swearing. I ensured my friend signed the document and I also signed it and underneath my signature wrote “your counsellor, Domonique”. I doubt she was my first “client” too. Alongside my interest in psychology, I always enjoyed sport and exercise and felt passionate about the importance of both sport and exercise for wellbeing. I decided a great mix in my career was working in the sport and exercise psychology context.
What motivated you to want to be a part of YUMM!’s mental health resources?
I love that YUMM! is a fun, fresh, proactive way of educating and supporting the quality of life and positive mental health. YUMM! is a great way likeminded professionals and everyday people can come together to support each other as a community as well as enjoy the finer things in life – chocolate of course!
Why is mental health awareness and education so important to you?
I can not emphasise the importance of this enough! I think creating mental health awareness and education is critical to provide sufficient support, ensure people understand the importance of the topic of mental health, help people understand what they are going through and not feel alone in the process, decrease stigma around mental health, and much much more. I have done numerous community events promoting proactive wellbeing strategies and mental health awareness and love the comments I hear back, like “wow! I didn’t realise there was so much support out there. I don’t feel as alone now”.
Why are young Australian’s most at risk of developing mental health issues?
Oftentimes individuals are not equipped with proactive coping skills and/ or are unaware of all the readily available support there is to offer. Without coping skills life struggles can be perceived as magnified and too difficult to handle. There are so many factors that can come into play here and everyone has their own risk factors and triggers for mental health issues. Factors such as physical changes, stressors, social, emotional, LBTIQ+ related concerns, peer-pressure, body image concerns, bullying, and educational stressors can contribute. Other factors like youth developing their own identity, autonomy, and the transition to adulthood also can be factors related to mental health issues in that population. It is important that these individuals know that there are so many people out there ready to support them and passionate about making positive differences in youths lives.
How do you think organisations like YUMM! can help young Australians and prevent the onset of mental illness?
Mental wellness organisations such as YUMM! can assist in developing awareness and sending positive and helpful proactive messages to young people. The strategies and resources available could make a big difference in people’s lives. Providing free resources as YUMM! does, along with many other great organisations, can help people to know they are not alone and that they can get through their concerns and that there is hope. I think continually educating and normalising mental health is an important key on small and large scales. Workshops to schools, community events, online resources, and introducing wellbeing support people in more organisations are all ways to help. Also, the idea of sitting down with someone you trust and having a D&M while eating delicious YUMM! chocolate is a win-win.
Tell us about your experiences with mental health?
I have had very varied experiences in mental health. I have been a mental health case manager for several years assisting people to develop their independence, crises manage and assist in intervention strategies for improved quality of life. I have worked counselling at a drug and alcohol addiction service, crises work, a psychology clinic, disability, YMCA school, several sporting organisations, Commonwealth Games performance psychology, etc. From my experience, I can tell you mental health issues do not discriminate and there is no issue that is less important than the next person’s issues. It is all perspective and it is important to respect each and every person’s unique struggles.
If someone was interested in seeing a psychologist, what would you suggest they do first?
Firstly – if you are wanting to see a psychologist, thumbs up to you for taking an important step to improving your quality of life! There are multiple avenues for seeking help from a psychologist. Firstly, you could go to a GP and get a mental health care plan. The GP will essentially assess whether you will benefit from a mental health treatment plan which Medicare will rebate for up to 10 individual or group sessions with a psychologist. You could also search for local psychologists up online on a site like the Australian Psychological Society website (https://www.psychology.org.au/Find-a-Psychologist). Some practitioners bulk-bill for services so if that is important to you make sure you look for those practitioners. There are also free psychological services from Headspace if you are between 12 and 25 years of age and a lot of free counsellors online – some are 24/7 like LifeLine.
Do you have any book recommendations for those wanting to read more about mental health?
The Happiness Trap is a good one outlining some helpful and practical tools from an Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) perspective.
Oliver Sacks books are good for real-world accounts of mental health.
Mind Gym: An athletes guide to inner excellence by Gary Mack and David Gasstevens. Practical skills that can be transferred to other areas too.
Daniel Amen’s books. Coming from a neuroscience perspective with a lot of strategies and helpful information to understand how the brain works and how to live a more full life.
Are there any Instagram accounts or blogs you follow that provide information/positive influence regarding mental health?
I think everyone will have different things that energise them and are a positive influence. For me, I follow running athletes on my Instagram because they inspire me and because running is a positive outlet for my mental health. There are Facebook groups that put positive quotes, videos, blogs etcetera up like Power of Positivity. I like reading Psychology Today blogs too because there are some raw real-life stories on there and some helpful tricks and strategies for helping certain mental health issues too. I also find Ted Talks informative, inspiring, and positive – particularly the ones of people discussing their own trials and tribulations getting through tough situations. There are a lot of great resources out there and food for thought. I would recommend finding what moves you and makes you inspired and happy and then following those types of genres/ people on Instagram and other means.