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:
South Australia’s new Mental Health Commissioners (l-r) David Kelly, Professor Sharon Lawn and Heather Nowak with Amelia Traino, Executive Director, Mental Health & Wellbeing Directorate, Wellbeing SA.
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 an experienced program manager, service designer and community researcher with a 30-year commitment to working with disadvantaged and vulnerable communities to improve wellbeing and build resilience.
David believes that communities change for the better when citizens of all ages are empowered as active and creative participants in community development processes rather than passive consumers of services.