The Mental Health Community Advisory Council has 16 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, Catherine Lourey, 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,” Ms Lourey 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 of March 2019

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 30 years’ experience caring for a loved one with mental illness. Lyn is a member of Mental Health Australia’s National Register.  A founding member of the North Shore Carers Network and sits on several Northern Sydney LHD committees.  Lyn is a consultant to many carer organisations such as Mental Health Carers NSW, One Door, Carers NSW, CCNB and NSW Police mental health training. 

Ms Ann Baker

Ann's current role is District Co-ordinator Aboriginal Mental Health with South West Sydney Local Health District. Over the last 30+ years she has gained extensive experience in the mental health/social and emotional wellbeing roles of a Registered Nurse in both community and acute mental health; Family Health Team Manager and CEO in an Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service; and State Co-ordinator Aboriginal Mental Health with Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council. Ann has worked with rural, remote and urban communities and her experience has given her a solid grounding in clinical practice, programs and policy.  

Ann is passionate about not "reinventing the wheel" but identifying best practice and using this to build on existing strengths of people, policy and procedures.

Jenni Campbell

Ms Jenni Campbell (chair)

Jenni Campbell has a strong background in mental health leadership, planning and policy having worked across non-government recovery oriented services, primary mental healthcare and more recently as part of the executive leadership team of a large rural Primary Health Network.  Jenni was the inaugural chair of the  NSW/ACT Mental Health PHN Network, has served as a member of the Agency for Clinical Innovation Mental Health Executive Network and as a member of the Mental Health Information Strategy Standing Committee. 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 CEO of Being, and a passionate peer support worker, advocate, educator and academic who has served in the mental health sector for 25 years. Irene 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. 

Mr Gary Groves

Gary Groves is Executive Director of Their Futures Matter, a landmark reform of the NSW Government to improve outcomes for vulnerable children and families. Appointed in January 2018, Gary is leading the implementation of a multi-agency, coordinated service system to deliver evidence-based, wraparound supports via a whole-of-government investment approach.

Over his illustrious twenty-five year career in the public service, Gary has held a number of senior executive roles within the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) and NSW Police. He has extensive experience in public administration and has delivered results in a number of areas of human services.

Gary is adept in organisation reform, change and cultural shift through leadership, collaboration and capability development.

Mr Andrew Johnson

Andrew Johnson, the NSW Advocate for Children and Young has been working to advance the rights of children and young people close to 30 years and has held senior leadership positions in Save the Children, Plan International, ChildFund Alliance, Australian Council of Social Service and the Australian Republican Movement. He was an Adjunct Professor at NYU. 

Ms Heidi Keevers

Heidi Keevers is the Northern NSW Local Health District Mental Health Consumer Partnership Coordinator. She has a Lived Experience of mental health issues and been actively involved as an advocate in Peer and Lived Experience roles. Currently, she is the Chairperson of the NSW Mental Health Consumer Peer Workforce Committee and has experience in peer support work. She has a strong interest in social justice and has been involved in a variety of community projects and settings for over 20 years.

Mr Craig Mack

Craig Mack is a social media and content strategist, lecturer, LGBTI blogger, model, speaker, R U OK? Ambassador and mental health advocate in the LGBTI Community. He shares his own experiences from a lifetime of managing depression, and with suicide, to support and educate others to improve the understanding of mental health and encourage open, informed, meaningful conversations and action. 

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. 

Rod McKay

Dr Rod McKay

Rod McKay is a psychiatrist and Director, Psychiatry and Mental Health Programs at the Health Education and Training Institute (HETI) Mental Health Portfolio . He is also Clinical Advisor, Older People's 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. 

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.

Jaelea Skehan

Ms Jaelea Skehan

Jaelea Skehan is the Director of Everymind and an internationally respected leader in the prevention of mental illness and the prevention of suicide. Jaelea 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.

Mr Steve Stanton

Steve is a Gamilaraay man from North West NSW. Steve has held numerous senior, executive and directorship roles in the NGO sector in service areas of Mental Health, Disability, Primary Health, Housing, Aged Care, Early Education and Allied Health and is currently General Manager Community Services with LiveBetter Services. Steve has dedicated much of his career to Aboriginal mental health services and design and delivery of health and social services in regional and remote communities. Steve has a keen interest for innovative design of services and the role cross sectoral and community partnerships can play in supporting an enhanced human services system broadly.  

Mr Ibrahim Taha

Ibrahim Taha has a keen interest in mental health awareness for multicultural youth. He has been active in his community where he organised workshops on mental health with neighbouring schools, as part of the Auburn Youth Advisory Committee. He played a crucial role in the development of Cumberland Council’s Youth Strategy 2017-2021. He was awarded the John Lincoln Youth Community Service Award for his commitment to youth advocacy. Ibrahim is an advisor to the National Youth Commission into Unemployment and a recent recipient of the NSW Premier’s Youth Medal. Ibrahim is studying Arts and Law at the University of Sydney. 

Alan Woodward

Mr Alan Woodward

Alan Woodward has extensive 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 mental health promotion and support services, suicide prevention, housing, children and young people, ageing and rural/regional service delivery. He has specialist knowledge of telephone and online services such as helplines and chat from 14 years' experience as a senior executive with Lifeline Australia and an international contributor to helplines. Alan has also been appointed as a National Mental Health Commissioner.

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Last updated: 13 August 2019