GAF Story

Colby Bryce

Deakin University
Bachelor of Health Science

Man in dark suit and tie smiling, standing in front of a white wall.

Colby's educational journey was only beginning when he graduated with a Bachelor of Health Science from Deakin University in 2012.

To qualify as a registered psychologist, Colby completed a Bachelor of Psychological Science, a Graduate Diploma in Psychology and a Master of Applied Psychology.

Here, Colby shares the well-being practices he lived by to prevent burnout and thrive in his academic career and his latest project - creating research-backed content to empower individuals in supporting their mental well-being.

You received a GAF scholarship in 2012 while studying for a Bachelor of Health Science. Ten years on, has this time left lasting impressions on you?

Moving to Geelong (to attend Deakin University) from a small country town 300 kilometres away was a significant life transition for me. Fortunately, my scholarship provided invaluable financial support, relieving my worries about finances and employment during the immediate transition.

I was free to concentrate on my studies, establish productive routines and positive habits, and gain an understanding of the university's intricate framework. This provided a foundation for my future studies and allowed me to engage in sports and forge meaningful social connections, ultimately creating a sense of community and home in Geelong.

One of the most unforgettable highlights of this time was embarking on an international study tour across Europe, an experience that truly felt like the adventure of a lifetime. Without a doubt, this extraordinary opportunity would have remained financially out of reach without the assistance of my scholarship.

In terms of the enduring impact on my academic pursuits, the ability to engage in all the opportunities mentioned above was a catalyst for me to continue my studies, pursue an additional three degrees and ultimately achieve my goal of becoming a registered psychologist.

How did you prevent burnout while pursuing further qualifications to become a registered psychologist? Any advice for members of the GAF community who are entering postgraduate studies?

After completing my Bachelor of Health Science degree, I pursued a Bachelor of Psychological Science, a Graduate Diploma in Psychology, and a Master of Applied Psychology.

Throughout my educational pursuits, I made a conscious and consistent effort to maintain a balance between my studies and personal life. I recognised the importance of nurturing diverse interests and hobbies beyond the confines of textbooks and electronic devices. These activities included outdoor exercise, quality time spent with friends, and even participating in local-level competitive Australian Rules football, playing in a premiership-winning team in 2016.

To the members of the GAF community who are venturing into postgraduate studies, I offer a valuable piece of advice - make it a priority to sustain or discover hobbies and interests that exist independently of technology, scholarly pursuits, and reading. If possible, allocate at least an hour each day to engage in these. Doing so will significantly safeguard your mental well-being and ward off burnout.

I would also emphasise the importance of celebrating your achievements along the way. Whether it's the completion of a substantial assessment or the culmination of a trimester of study, acknowledge and mark these milestones in a manner that resonates with your personal preferences for celebration. In my case, it often involved relishing a nice meal at a favourite restaurant with friends or family.

By consistently embracing these practices of maintaining a balance between study and personal life, nurturing your hobbies, and celebrating your accomplishments, you will find the resilience and fulfilment necessary to thrive in your academic and personal pursuits. 

Tell us about your research and publications. What drew you to focus on these topics?  

I have authored multiple academic publications that have undergone peer review and been published in international journals. These publications explore various research topics, spanning fields such as mental health, personality, substance use, nutritional interventions for health, women's empowerment, and social issues that disproportionately affect marginalised communities.

One of my most recent publications focused on addressing individual-level gender inequality experienced by women. In this work, I explored the role of providing opportunities to women that have historically been available exclusively to men, such as participation in outdoor education camps.

We found that these opportunities did lead to perceived empowerment and leadership development, both important components in reducing gender inequality. This research reflects my commitment to promoting gender equality and empowering women through equitable access to experiences and opportunities that societal norms have long restricted.

What are you up to now? Tell us about your current work and Instagram.  

I currently hold a position with a national organisation where I am the Quality Assurance Manager, a psychologist, and an Advanced Behaviour Support Practitioner. The diversity of my responsibilities within this role keeps my professional life dynamic and engaging.

Beyond my professional commitments, I run an Instagram account @the.psychologist.nutritionist, an educational resource through which I summarise and disseminate research findings related to mental health. It focuses on distilling information from the most comprehensive studies, offering free and easily accessible content to empower individuals in supporting their mental well-being. The platform is gaining followers rapidly, and I hope this indicates it's achieving this purpose.

Congratulations on the upcoming publication of your book! What motivated you to write a book, and what is its primary objective?

I've always been passionate about sharing knowledge and information with a broader audience. Given my experience with publishing several peer-reviewed papers, I felt that my skills had reached their highest level, making it a natural progression to write a book.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about an increased demand for mental health services, with some psychologists having waiting lists that stretch to six months or more. Additionally, individuals facing mental health challenges can be hesitant or unwilling to seek professional help via psychology services.

While numerous self-help books on mental health are available, many tend to focus on only a few aspects of mental well-being and for these reasons, I decided it was time to write a book to address these current gaps.

The book aims to create a comprehensive resource addressing every facet of mental health. This resource goes beyond merely offering guidance on mental health issues; it encompasses a wide range of topics, including differentiating mental health challenges from alternative health issues, nutrition as mental health medicine, recommended supplements, and even specific exercise regimens tailored to various mental health concerns.

I have thoughtfully structured the chapters in a sequential order that readers should follow when seeking to support their mental health. These steps are organised based on the years of research, practical experience, and education I have acquired, mirroring the approach I would take in addressing my own mental health challenges if they were to arise.


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