The Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade MLC has announced the appointment of three new SA Mental Health Commissioners.
Minister Wade said the new appointments broadened the skills base of the Commission and will continue the work of implementing the SA Mental Health Strategic Plan 2017–2022 and the recently released Mental Health Services Plan.
The new part-time Commissioners are:
Image Caption (l–r): SA’s new Mental Health Commissioners David Kelly, Professor Sharon Lawn and Heather Nowak with SAMHC Executive Director Amelia Traino.
Professor Sharon Lawn
Professor Sharon Lawn has been involved in the mental health sector for 34 years in diverse roles ranging from clinician working with veterans, mothers and babies, the community and aged care to researcher and educator.
Sharon is currently Professor and Director with the School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Flinders Human Behaviour and Health Research Unit at Flinders University.
Sharon has lived experience of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as well as being a carer which she says entrenches her commitment to improving mental health care, improving mental health systems and services and reducing stigma and discrimination.
Heather Nowak is a TAFE Lecturer in Certificate IV Mental Health Peer Work and an advocate for people living with mental ill-health on a state and national level.
Heather is an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills trainer and Assessor and a member of the National Mental Health Commission Peer Workforce Development Guidelines Steering Committee and past member of the SA Mental Health Services Plan Steering Committee and the SA Mental Health Commission Community Advisory Committee.
She also brings her lived experience to the role and a determination to ensure people living with mental ill-health, their carers and families have the best opportunity to live a life that is full and meaningful.
David Kelly is a project lead who delivers coaching and training for a trauma-informed wellbeing program for people who have disengaged from education, people who are homeless, refugees and new arrivals and worked with Baptist Care on its new Health and Wellbeing Centre for people who are homeless. David was formerly senior manager with the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, Wellbeing and Resilience Centre.
As Deputy Chief Executive Officer with The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) for two years, he led a range of projects in the ageing, disability and caring sectors and is a strong advocate for the co-design of services for mental health and wellbeing.