Pharmacotherapy in Mental Health Advisory Group

The Commission has a clear mandate to work across government and other service providers to drive reform across the mental health sector. The reform agenda is not limited to mental health treatment and services but takes an holistic approach, with a core function of the Commission being to advocate for and promote the general health and wellbeing of people who have a mental illness and their families and carers.

Medication is part of the lived experience of mental illness for some people. For some it is a short-term solution to an immediate mental health crisis, while others find medication is part of ongoing, or long-term recovery. Some people who experience mental illness are able to live well without the use of prescription medication at all. Or for people who are under an involuntary order in hospital or have a Community Treatment Order, their choices about medication use are limited.

Irrespective of how and when it is used, medication can have unwanted consequences, including side-effects, and its use needs to be thought through very seriously. Consumers, carers and clinicians should work collaboratively to weigh up the potential benefits with the possible negative consequences that might result, and these will be different for every person and every diagnosis.

To guide the Commission on both the challenges and opportunities in this complex area the Pharmacotherapy in Mental Health Advisory Group has been established to provide high level strategic advice and guidance in relation to pharmacotherapy and mental health.

The Pharmacotherapy in Mental Health Advisory Group includes the Commissioner and experts in the field from a diversity of specialities, experiences and professional backgrounds. Members have been personally invited to join the group by the Commissioner and do so in an individual capacity.

Current members:

  • Dr Murray Wright, Chief Psychiatrist, Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol Office
  • A/Prof Tim Chen, Associate Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy, The University of Sydney
  • Ms Aoife Davis, Mental Health Pharmacist/Emergency Department Pharmacist, Pharmacy Department, Manly Hospital
  • Ms Judith Mackson, Chief Pharmacist/Associate Director, Pharmaceutical Services, NSW Ministry of Health
  • Dr Rod McKay, Director Psychiatry and Mental Health Programs NSW Institute of Psychiatry , Conjoint Senior Lecturer, UNSW
  • Prof Andrew McLachlan, Professor of Pharmacy (Aged Care), Faculty of Pharmacy and Centre for Education and Research on Ageing, The University of Sydney and Concord Hospital
  • Ms Kerin O’Halloran, Carer
  • Prof Alan Rosen, Clinical Associate Professor, Brain and Mind Centre, Sydney Medical School
  • Dr Titia Sprague, Associate Director, Clinical Service Development and Quality, MH - Children and Young People
  • Ms Sam Stott, consumer
  • Dr Michael Tam, Staff Specialist in General Practice (GP), GP Unit, Fairfield Hospital, Conjoint Senior Lecturer, University of NSW 
  • A/Prof Timothy Wand, Nurse Practitioner, Mental Health Liaison, Emergency Department, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

The first meeting of the Pharmacotherapy in Mental Health Advisory Group was held in February 2014.

The Pharmacotherapy in Mental Health Advisory Group will meet twice a year. 

Last updated: 5 April 2017

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