New appointments to drive better mental health support

The Hon. Greg Hunt MP

Minister for Health

The National Mental Health Commission advisory board will be strengthened with the appointment of four new members who will continue to drive better support for the four million Australians who experience some form of chronic or episodic mental health condition each year.

I am pleased to announce that Ms Kerry Hawkins, Professor Maree Teesson AC, Ms Christina McGuffie and Rabbi Mendel Kastel OAM have agreed to serve on the Commission’s board.

Professor Ngiare Brown, a senior medical practitioner and researcher, has also been reappointed to the Commission for a new term.

Lucy Brogden will continue to lead the advisory board in her role as Chair, with the new members boosting the female representation to more than three quarters of the board.

The new appointees bring expertise and stakeholder perspectives across a broad field of issues, including suicide prevention, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mental health, lived experience as carers and consumers, research, youth mental health and social services.

I extend my deep thanks to the outgoing board members for their insights and passion for their work.

Professor Ian Hickie AM, Mr Samuel Hockey Dr Peggy Brown AO and the late Jackie Crow each helped to elevate the importance of mental health and suicide prevention and supported the Government’s mental health reform agenda.

Today I have also pledged the Federal Government’s support for the National Communications Charter — a unified approach to mental health and suicide prevention.

The Charter will help guide people working in the sector to tackle mental illness and prevent suicide in our community by reinforcing the importance of providing clear, consistent and evidence-based information.

I signed the Charter alongside key mental health stakeholders, including National Mental Health Commissioner Professor Wendy Cross, Everymind Director Jaelea Skehan, beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman, headspace CEO Jason Trethowan, Suicide Prevention Australia CEO Nieves Murray and CEO of Mental Health Australia Frank Quinlan.

This charter will guide organisations, individuals and groups in Australia’s mental health and suicide prevention sector on ways to promote awareness of mental health and suicide prevention and how to encourage people to seek help in a clear and consistent way.

I am absolutely committed to providing more support the four million Australians that experience some form of chronic or episodic mental health condition each year.

We recently boosted our support by an extra $338 million of mental health funding, with a focus on greater suicide prevention services, more support for older Australians and advancing the Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan.

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