Tim Heffernan is the Mental Health Peer Coordinator at COORDINARE, South Eastern NSW PHN, and a Consumer Peer Worker for Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District. Tim has been a member of the Commission’s Community Advisory Council since its establishment in 2014, and a past chair of Being (NSW Consumer Advisory Group) and the NSW Public Mental Health Consumer Workers Committee. Tim is an executive member of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention Collaborative and was a volunteer Rural and Regional Ambassador and Community Presenter for the Black Dog Institute. In 2013 he was awarded a scholarship to attend Boston University’s Global Leadership Institute to develop a co-designed project, Safety for All, which involved peer workers training mental health nurses working on acute mental health wards.
He enjoyed a twenty-year teaching career before moving to disability support work and peer work. Tim identifies as a person with lived experience of mental illness and recovery and he is passionate about the development and support of the peer workforce.
“It’s a relatively new workforce in mental health, but it’s probably the workforce we need most to achieve significant improvements in mental health,” Tim said.
An award-winning poet, Tim co-edits on online space for ‘Mad’ writing, ‘Clozapine Clinic – The Frater Project’ in the influential Australian journal ‘Verity La’. He has published widely and performed his poetry at the Wollongong Writers Festival, the Queensland Poetry Festival and at Mad Pride.
Tim Heffernan's appointment as Deputy Commissioner is from December 2018 until November 2021.