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Group selected for the 2014 National Mental Health Leadership Project

Group selected for the 2014 National Mental Health Leadership Project

The National Mental Commission has announced the 11 participants for the inaugural National Mental Health Leaders Project.

This is the first intake for the project which will support the further development of existing consumer and carer mental health leaders and advocates, and find and develop the next generation of leaders.

This year’s group includes:

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

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

In addition to an individual mentoring and leadership development programme in 2014, participants will also have the opportunity to contribute to the National Mental Health Commission’s work. This may include contributing at a national level to mental health policy advice, advocacy and reporting associated with the Commission’s mandate and co-chairing or membership of advisory groups to the Commission and other organisations.

National Mental Health Commission Chair Professor Allan Fels AO said: “The Commission believes fundamentally in the power of lived experience of mental health problems, whether that comes from personal experience or supporting someone else.

“We have a responsibility to not only ensure that we hear and harness that expertise in our own work and insist that others do too, but also to create opportunities for people to contribute as equal partners and to keep developing the capacity of the consumer and carer movement.

The Commission congratulates the group and is looking forward to supporting their existing work and ongoing development. Their insight and expertise will be invaluable. We would also like to thank all of those who took the time to submit a nomination. We have been overwhelmed with the response.”

The assessment process for the National Mental Health Leaders Project was designed to select those people who best demonstrate they have the capabilities, experience and/or potential to operate at the national level and to work with and contribute to the Commission’s vision and mission. A national call for nominations was undertaken in December 2013, with an independent assessment panel including people with a lived experience of mental health problems, government and business representatives reviewing over 130 nominations received from around Australia.

Aboriginal flag Torres Strait Islander flag

Acknowledgement of Country

The Commission acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands throughout Australia.
We pay our respects to their clans, and to the elders, past present and emerging, and acknowledge their continuing connection to land, sea and community.


The Commission is committed to embracing diversity and eliminating all forms of discrimination in the provision of health services. The Commission welcomes all people irrespective of ethnicity, lifestyle choice, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lived Experience

We acknowledge the individual and collective contributions of those with a lived and living experience of mental ill-health and suicide, and those who love, have loved and care for them. Each person’s journey is unique and a valued contribution to Australia’s commitment to mental health suicide prevention systems reform.