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 her.
Following the death of an adored brother, Ms Jackson decided to become a potent champion for people with mental health issues, and show her daughters and others that there are ways of living well with mental illness.
At the age of 40, she was appointed to her first permanent role as a mental health advocate, and has since gone on to hold a number of roles drawing on her lived experience. In addition to serving as Deputy Commissioner since 2013, Ms Jackson is General Manager, Inclusion at RichmondPRA and CEO of her own company, Vision in Mind.
Ms Jackson’s focus is on the positive attributes of people with mental health issues, their abilities, their need and desire to work, to raise healthy, happy families, receive good education and to ensure their physical health needs are met. Ms Jackson is passionate about the fact that mental health is an intergenerational, whole of health, whole of life issue and hopes to create a better mental health care system for her children and grandchildren.
Ms Jackson’s highlights for 2015-16:
“There were a number of events throughout the year that were particularly important and meaningful for me, because they were such powerful illustrations of positive change. At the launch of the Commission’s Medication and mental illness: Perspectives paper, I witnessed NSW’s Chief Psychiatrist, Dr Murray Wright, tell a crowded room of his realisation that medication is not always the answer. I could not have imagined hearing those words from a psychiatrist when I began my work as a mental health advocate.
At the launch of Physical Health and Mental Wellbeing: An evidence guide, I met members of an exercise and nutrition program run for young people with mental health issues. I hold great hope these young people will
enjoy good physical health, unlike many of my brothers and sisters who’ve gone before them."
Read Ms Jackson's letter about the Strategic Plan.