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National Future Leaders in Mental Health Project

The National Future Leaders in Mental Health Project project is an initiative of the National Mental Health Commission in collaboration with Mental Health Australia, and with the support of National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum.  

The project offered an individual mentoring and leadership development programme. In addition to an individual mentoring and leadership development program in 2014, participants also had the opportunity to contribute to the National Mental Health Commission’s work and national forums.

The 11 participants in the National Future Leaders in Mental Health Project include:

  • Julie Anderson (VIC)
  • Dean Barton-Smith (VIC)
  • Michael Burge AOM (QLD)
  • Jen Coulis (SA)
  • Fay Jackson (NSW)
  • Lyn Mahboub (WA)
  • Sarah McFarlane-Eagle (NSW)
  • Rod McKay (NSW)
  • Lei Ning (VIC)
  • Rebecca Randall (ACT)
  • Sebastian Robertson (NSW)

This project will support the further development of existing consumer and carer mental health leaders and advocates, and support the next generation of leaders.


The first meeting of the 11 participants in the National Future Leaders in Mental Health Projectwas held in Sydney on 5-6 May 2014.

Read the communique from the meeting. This communique has been developed to underline participants’ shared and common commitment to supporting and driving change.

In August, the group participated in their second workshop where they built on their learnings from the first workshop, and advanced their skills in leadership, effective communication and participation in advisory roles at a national level.

The final workshop was held in November 2014.


In February 2015, all 11 particpants graduated from the programme.

Announcing the graduation, National Mental Health Commission Chair Prof. Allan Fels said: “The Commission believes strongly in the importance of developing the capacity of the consumer and carer movement, and in the power of lived experience, whether from personal experience or supporting someone else.

“We congratulate and welcome this group of mental health leaders and look forward to their ongoing contribution to mental health reform. We are all aiming and working for the same thing – helping ensure that all Australians live a contributing life, and achieve the best possible mental health and wellbeing.

“I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of Robyn Kruk AM, former CEO of the Commission and Janet Meagher AM, former National Mental Health Commissioner, who initiated and sponsored the programme, and provided leadership and mentoring throughout. Their support for this initiative has been immense, and they have placed incredible importance on helping develop the capacity of mental health leadership in Australia, which should be commended.”

“We strive to continually improve the mental health system so people lead contributing lives with the right supports at the right time.”

Dr Peggy Brown AO, CEO
National Mental Health Commission

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