At his darkest time, Allan Sparkes could easily have died. A police officer, who had brought off an extraordinary rescue of a child trapped underground in a stormwater drain, Sparkes was a hero in the eyes of the world. In his own mind he floundered in the event’s aftermath, with severe depression... more
Conjoint Associate Professor Martin Cohen is a long-time advocate from within the system for people who experience mental illness. “I know the sector very well from working in the public and private sectors. I understand the pushes and pulls that make things happen,” says Dr Cohen, who until May... more
As a leader with exceptionally wide experience, Karen Burns brings technical knowledge and cultural understanding of the community-managed mental health sector to her role as Deputy Commissioner at a time of unprecedented system change. The National Disability Insurance Scheme, and the devolution... more
Fay Jackson experienced mental ill health from her early teenage years and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 37. Early medical advice included that she would not be able to work and would have limited ability to contribute to the lives of those around her, advice which devastated... more
Catherine Lourey brings great insight and value to the role of Deputy Commissioner (full time) through her 30 years experience in the NSW health and mental health sectors.
Growing up in the shadow of an asylum, Dr Robyn Shields’ first impression of mental illness was that it was about being locked away and was not to be discussed. "I didn't know what asylums were about until I found myself having a professional career in mental health,” recalls Dr Shields of the... more