John Feneley - NSW Mental Health Commissioner 2012-2017
John Feneley was the inaugural NSW Mental Health Commissioner from August 2012 – August 2017.
Mr Feneley led the Commission’s development of Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014-2024, adopted by the NSW Government in December 2014. He also oversaw creation of the accompanying report Living Well: Putting people at the centre of mental health reform in NSW.
Major projects undertaken by the Commission during Mr Feneley’s tenure included the development of the proposed Suicide Prevention Framework for NSW; development of a mental health and wellbeing strategy for first responders in NSW; an investigation of people’s experiences of medications for mental illness and how they could be improved; and a report for NSW Government on how to alter the trajectory of individuals with a mental illness or cognitive impairment away from the criminal justice system.
Mr Feneley also led the Commission’s monitoring of the progress of mental health reform, most notably via the publication of One Year On, which detailed progress made during Living Well’s first 12 months of implementation.
A qualified lawyer, Mr Feneley was particularly passionate about breaking the cycle of disadvantage and discrimination that saw people with mental illness repeatedly returning to the criminal justice system, their mental health needs unaddressed. He brought to the Commission family experience of long-term mental illness, having witnessed a relation struggle for many years to find adequate support.
Mr Feneley reflected on his time as Commissioner in a farewell letter published at the end of his term. Read John Feneley's farewell letter.
Bradley Foxlewin - Deputy Commissioner 2013-2016
Bradley Foxlewin served two terms as Deputy Commissioner from March 2013 to November 2016. An independent mental health consumer consultant, Bradley now works as a trainer, group-worker, consultant and researcher, all from a consumer-first position. He is also a member of the Mental Health Co-ordinating Council.
While at the Commission, Bradley was a passionate advocate for the rights and wellbeing of people who experience mental illness. A particular focus was championing trauma-informed recovery practice, and effectively challenged particularly the use of seclusion and restraint in mental health treatment.
Before coming to the Commission, he chaired the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Mental Health Consumer Network and worked for 20 years improving services for young men who survived sexual abuse as children. He has advocated strongly against seclusion and restraint in support of better outcomes for people with mental illness, describing the practices as re-traumatising.
Bradley's extensive qualifications include MAppSc (Social Ecology- Major: Organisational Change), Cert. IV in TAFE, Dip: Community Studies (Welfare) with Honours, Dip: Community Services (Mental Health).
Professor Alan Rosen AO - Deputy Commissioner 2013-2015
Professor Alan Rosen was one of the first Deputy Commissioners to be appointed and advocated for the establishment of the Mental Health Commission of NSW.
In his nearly 30 years as consultant psychiatrist, director and clinical director of the Royal North Shore Hospital and Community Mental Health Services, Professor Alan Rosen has focused on the shift of the centre of gravity of mental health services from hospital- to community-centered, integrating community and hospital services, while involving consumers and families directly in their management.
Professor Rosen’s strong partnerships with other clinical disciplines and community agencies, as well as his involvement in research, helped shift the thinking towards a model based on people’s home and community, supported by effective 24-hour service, with hospital care only when really necessary.
He was also involved in research into early intervention in psychosis which contributed to reforms in NSW and the National Mental Health Strategy, leading to the replacement of institutions with community mental health teams, community-based respite residential alternatives to local inpatient facilities, supported by local general health facilities.