It has been a wonderful, busy ten weeks since I stepped into the role of NSW Mental Health Commissioner. I have had the opportunity to meet many of you during Mental Health Month, but to everyone I have not yet crossed paths with, I send you a warm hello. I hope we meet soon.
I come to this role having worked in and cared about mental health reform for many years. At the heart of my previous roles with the NSW Mental Health Commission, the National Mental Health Commission and NSW Health, was the mandate to make life better for people affected by mental illness. I bring everything I have learned from those roles and from my colleagues – including the inimitable Jackie Crowe, who we have so recently and so sadly lost – to my new position.
Our priorities at the Commission remain the same: to see the principles and 141 actions in Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014-2024 become reality. In particular I want to see an emphasis on early intervention, so everyone has the best chance at living a contributing life; on embedding co-design, so everyone can participate in reform; and a shared focus on mental health across Government, in recognition that our wellbeing is influenced by so much more than just health services. Monitoring and reporting to Government on progress towards reform is another pillar of our work that will continue, so there is accountability for the sector, for people with lived experience and for their supporters.
Most of all, we will continue to keep people with mental illness, and those who love and support them, at the heart of all we do. All of us deserve to live well, on our own terms, in our community – but there is a way to go before we realise that vision. I look forward to working with you over the next five years to make it happen, together.