Rachel Downie

Educator and social entrepreneur

2020 QLD Australian of the Year

Twenty-five years ago, Rachel Downie became an educator to help young people flourish. After losing a Year 9 student to suicide, Rachel decided she needed to find a way to support young people to say something when things aren't right. She discovered students often felt too frightened to come forward with possible life-saving information, because of peer expectations. This led Rachel to developing and self-funding Stymie – an old-fashioned word for stop – to allow students to anonymously report harm without fear.

Rachel developed Stymie with extensive consultation and help from students and educators. Since 2014 she has presented Stymie to more than 300,000 students nationally.

Implemented nationally and internationally, students are using Stymie to report family violence, bullying, cyber-bullying, depression, illegal activity, harassment, self-harm, and harm to their communities. In 2018, Stymie schools received more than 40,000 notifications from concerned students, empowering them to use their empathy and conscience to report harm, and further a culture of care in their schools.