Community Advisory Council

The Mental Health Community Advisory Council has 18 members including the Commissioner and Chair.

The Council has been established to advise the Commission on any mental health issue it considers appropriate or that is referred to it by the Commission.

Members are appointed by the Minister for Mental Health to reflect the diversity of the NSW community. The Commission relies on their expertise to help it understand issues that affect the mental health and wellbeing of people in NSW.

The Commissioner, John Feneley, said the Community Advisory Council’s work ensured the Commission was deeply connected to the experiences of people and communities across the state. “It is extremely important that the Council’s composition echoes the geographic and cultural diversity of NSW so all communities have a voice within the Commission,” Mr Feneley said. “The Council’s engagement ensures that the Commission’s own program of work, and its advice to Government, are relevant to the real concerns and experiences of the people of NSW.”

Council members as at December 2016

*New member joined the Community Advisory Council in December 2016

Josie Anderson

Dr Josey Anderson

Josey Anderson is the Clinical Director of the Black Dog Institute and leads the Institute’s Depression Clinic. As a child and adolescent psychiatrist she has a special interest in early intervention, treatment and recovery in child and youth mental health. She also has a keen interest in innovative service development in collaboration with public, private and non-government partners-in-care.

Lyn Anderson

Ms Lyn Anderson*

Lyn Anderson has 27 years’ experience caring for a loved one with mental illness. She is a founding member of the North Shore Carers Network, is a carer representative with Carers NSW and the Schizophrenia Fellowship, and is on the advisory committee for Sydney North Shore and Beaches Partners in Recovery. She works as a Carer Consultant with Mental Health Carers NSW.

Tom Brideson

Mr Tom Brideson

Tom Brideson is an Aboriginal man who has provided leadership in the field of Aboriginal mental health for many years. Mr Brideson is employed as the NSW State-wide Coordinator for the NSW Aboriginal Mental Health Workforce Program.

Jenni Campbell

Ms Jenni Campbell (chair)

Jenni Campbell is Executive, Primary Health for Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network where she focuses on planning and commissioning mental health, suicide prevention and Alcohol and Other Drug activities. She is Chair of the NSW/ACT Mental Health PHN Network, and a member of the Agency for Clinical Innovation Mental Health Executive Network. Ms Campbell holds qualifications in social work and human services management and has worked in rural mental health settings for 13 years.

Maria Casaniti

Ms Maria Cassaniti 

Maria Cassaniti’s key area of interest is in the development of mental health services that respond to the needs of diverse populations. With a background in social work, Ms Cassaniti has worked for the Transcultural Mental Health Centre since 1994 and has been employed as its Manager since 2006.

Irene Gallagher

Ms Irene Gallagher*

Irene Gallagher is a passionate peer support worker, advocate, educator and academic who has served in the mental health sector for 25 years. She is the child of refugee parents and has a particular interest in peer work, trauma informed practice, homelessness, suicidality, and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. She identifies as a carer and a person with  lived experience. 

Peter Gianfrancesco

Mr Peter Gianfrancesco* 

Peter Gianfrancesco has worked in the mental health field in Australia and the United Kingdom for 35 years. He is currently the NSW State Manager for Neami National and holds extensive clinical experience with a focus on crisis intervention and home treatment. He is passionate about recovery oriented practice.  

Tim Heffernan

Mr Tim Heffernan 

Tim Heffernan is employed as a Peer Support Worker for the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District and as Senior Peer Worker (Recovery Learning Network) with Flourish. He is chair of the Being board, deputy chair of the NSW Public Mental Health Consumer Workers Committee and a member of the Agency for Clinical Innovation’s Mental Health Network Executive Committee. Mr Heffernan volunteers as a Community Presenter/Ambassador for the Black Dog Institute.

 Daya Henkel

Ms Daya Henkel

Daya Henkel has been a peer worker for nine years, and currently works as a Mental Health Peer Worker with Hunter New England Local Health District Mental Health Services. She is passionate about growing the peer workforce and recovery-oriented, trauma-informed care. She brings her experiences as an LGBTI person, a person with a mental illness, a carer, and a person living in a regional community.

Cathy Kezelman

Dr Cathy Kezelman 

Cathy Kezelman is a consumer advocate who has worked as a medical practitioner. She is President of the national organisation, Blue Knot (formerly Adults Surviving Child Abuse) and advocates for services for complex trauma consumers as well as a trauma-informed approach to care. Dr Kezelman is co-author of nationally and internationally acclaimed Guidelines for Treatment of Complex Trauma and Trauma Informed Care and Service Delivery.

Rod McKay

Dr Rod McKay*

Rod McKay is a psychiatrist and Director, Psychiatry and Mental Health Programs at the NSW Institute of Psychiatry. He is also Clinical Advisor, Older Persons’ Mental Health, Mental Health Branch, NSW Ministry of Health and current Chair of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists’ Community Collaboration Committee. 

 Eugene McGarrell

Mr Eugene McGarrell

Eugene McGarrell is General Manager, Community and Health Engagement at iCare NSW. Since starting his career as a mental health nurse, Mr McGarrell has amassed extensive experience working in government health and social services in the UK and Australia, including as District Director North Sydney with the Department of Family and Community Services. In this capacity, He started The Collective NSW to better connect community, government, non-government and business to work together on collective issues. 

Brian Pezzutti

Hon. Dr Brian Pezzutti 

Brian Pezzutti is a registered medical practitioner and is employed as a Director, Department of Anaesthesia and Perioperative Care within the Northern NSW Local Health District. Dr Pezzutti was a member of the NSW Legislative Council from 1988-2003 and is Chair of the Northern NSW Local Health District Board.

Jenna Roberts

Ms Jenna Roberts*

Jenna Roberts is the Consumer Participation Officer at St Vincent’s Health Network, Sydney, where her priorities include expanding the peer workforce and reducing the use of seclusion and restraint. Ms Roberts has lived experience of mental illness and is actively involved in suicide prevention and awareness initiatives.

Jaelea Skehan

Ms Jaelea Skehan*

Jaelea Skehan is the Director of the Hunter Institute of Mental Health and an internationally respected leader in the prevention of mental illness and suicide. She is a registered psychologist with over 15 years of experience working in mental health and suicide prevention and holds a conjoint appointment with the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle. 

Janet Vickers

Ms Janet Vickers*

Janet Vickers is the Executive Director, Program and Service Improvement for the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS). Janet has a Bachelors degree in Social Work and a Masters degree in Public Administration and has served the public sector for over 35 years. 

Alan Woodward

Mr Alan Woodward

Alan Woodward is Executive Director at the Lifeline Research Foundation and a Board Director for Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA). Mr Woodward has experience in the design and conduct of research to explore consumer use and experiences of services, program evaluations, policy analysis, and services development, especially in the areas of housing, mental health, suicide prevention, children and young people, ageing and rural/regional service delivery.

Last updated: 5 April 2017

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