HISKA is a Non-Profit Organisation founded by Kim and Matt Baillie. The concept of the organisation is the brainchild of their son Zac Barker, who tragically took his own life in January 2019, at the age of 21.
HISKA is governed by a Board of three - Kim and Matt plus Ross McCorkell who worked with Matt in business for many years and is a close family friend. Our Marketing Manager, Leonie Harcourt is also related to Zac.
Back in 2016, while recovering after a long battle with severe anxiety and addictions, Zac conceived the idea of an organisation offering new approaches and programs he felt would work for him. His vision for Youth Sheds is to engage young people and give them a ‘break from their heads’ as they work on shared projects like restoring classic cars, machinery and furniture.
Kim, Matt and Ross have expanded on Zac’s original ideas, adding additional supports for parents and family members needing understanding, guidance and practical help coping with a child or loved one struggling with issues that impact parents and families.
We are also developing a postvention program to provide support and practical assistance to parents, families and close friends trying to cope with life following loss of a loved one to suicide.
HISKA’s purpose is to develop and deliver new approaches in community support for:
Kids, youth and young adults struggling with education, employment, homelessness, mental illness (anxiety, depression), gender & sexuality issues, drug and alcohol use, self-harm and suicide ideation.
Parents, families, partners, close friends and others impacted by a young person’s negative behaviours or caught in the ripple effect following the loss of a loved one through suicide or traumatic event.
Start the conversation, speak out about the ripple effect of suicide, encourage people to talk about suicide and break down the negative stigmas to help reduce suicide rates.
You may wish to get involved by volunteering for one of the many rewarding roles we offer. Please enquire at the email address on the Contact Us page.
Hiska is here to support people of all ages. Please help Hiska deliver desperately needed services to kids, young adults and families by donating to our organisation.
HISKA MISSION STATEMENT
“Bringing rural communities together to inspire breakthroughs in the narrative around suicide, empower young people to achieve positive self-development and deliver support programs that build solid foundations for lasting resilience, positive life choices, healing and wellness.”
You can hear our radio interview on 3MFM here.
About Kim (Zac's mum)
Kim spent over twenty years as a Registered Nurse and has developed a very unique way of connecting with people. For decades, her friendly and intuitive nature has attracted all sorts of people in need of an understanding and supportive ear to listen to their stories. Kim has complemented her nursing skills by completing a number of qualifications in a range of therapies, including Bowen.
Kim has had to endure a tragedy that no parent ever expects to go through. To her credit, she has worked very hard to recover emotionally from her son’s passing as best she can. She engaged the support of a counsellor and an intuitive healer, the latter who’s methods worked extremely well in helping Kim cope. Kim will never get over what has occurred, however she is determined to move forward with her life and dedicate herself to helping young people, parents and families in similar circumstances. Kim is passionate about honouring her son’s legacy and vision by ensuring HISKA provides effective assistance not only to kids, but to all people in rural communities needing support for a range of issues, especially suicide.
Kim is keen to speak out about suicide and her personal mission is to tell her story of a mother’s heartbreak, talk about Zac’s life and how she coped following his death. She hopes her story will help other parents and family members find strength while working through the many stages involved with losing their loved one.
Matt is Zac’s step-father and has been involved in his life since he was eight years old. Matt of course struggled following Zac’s suicide. While he had to find a way to work through his own shock and grief, he also needed to stay strong to support Kim. After seeing a number of counsellors, he finally found one that was of great help.
Matt dreamed of being an airline pilot and learned to fly before he left high school. This didn’t eventuate and he went on to study Environmental Management. Matt joined Melbourne Water as a Park Ranger at the age of 24, and it was here he discovered a talent for connecting with people and groups as he led park tours.
His career took a new direction when a member of Melbourne Water’s communications department interviewed him for a story about his flying in the monthly staff newspaper. Matt was so impressed he switched his course to Business Marketing and Communications. He successfully applied to join the communications department at Melbourne Water and later their marketing department, learning skills in writing, editing, graphic design, publishing, marketing and business operations.
Matt left Melbourne water to become a sales manager in the publishing/book industry, ending up at Scholastic, where he worked with Ross McCorkell. Matt and Ross made a great team then and still do today, along with Kim, as co-founders of Hiska.
Matt has taken on the huge role of CEO at Hiska and is working long hours to establish the organisation. He studies research papers from all over the world to gain insights into effective approaches to suicide prevention, mental illnesses and coping with loss. Over the past ten years, Matt has also studied and practiced natural therapies, Enhanced Awareness Mentoring, Buddhism and aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine. He understands the deep connection between emotional trauma and how this relates to the health of the physical body, behaviours and life choices. Matt applies his knowledge and experience, along with Kim and Ross, to develop and deliver effective Hiska programs. Matt is passionate about providing support to people in rural communities all over Australia. He is working hard to grow Hiska into a respected and successful national organisation.
Ross grew up in regional Victoria and knows the challenges of fitting in. Ross was adopted as an infant and wasn’t always accepted because of this and his sexuality. He was lucky however to grow up in a loving supporting family.
Ross spent 20 years as both a primary school teacher and educational consultant until taking a package in the Kennett era. He then moved into publishing for approximately 20 years and was the State Manager at Scholastic until his retirement in 2014.
Ross enjoyed working in education and helping students and teachers meet the challenges of everyday life. He led by example, always finding the best in himself and encouraging others to be the best person they can be too.
In publishing Ross managed a sales team and worked hard to achieve the best for each team member and for the customers they serviced. Matching product and service to each customer’s needs.
Ross was honoured to be asked to be a founding Director of HISKA as his association goes back a long period of time with both Matt and Kim. Ross worked closely with Matt in business and through this came to know Kim.
Ross believes HISKA has so much to offer rural communities in dealing with the challenges associated with suicide that has an ongoing ripple effect through families, friends and subsequently a community. Ross looks forward to helping HISKA grow and help address the feelings of isolation, loneliness and lack of support for rural and regional communities throughout Australia in relation to dealing with suicide and its associated affects.