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Message from the Interim CEO

Message from the Interim CEO

I am very pleased to welcome four new Commissioners who were appointed by the Australian Government this week - Ms Kerry Hawkins, Rabbi Mendel Kastel OAM, Ms Christina McGuffie and Professor Maree Teesson AC. I am also pleased that Professor Ngaire Brown has been reappointed as a Commissioner.

In June we farewelled Dr Peggy Brown AO, and in July we farewelled two Commissioners - Professor Ian Hickie AM and Mr Samuel Hockey. Professor Hickie was appointed when the Commission was established in 2012. He helped to establish the foundation that the Commission operates from today and contributed to creating the Contributing Life Framework. Mr Hockey was appointed in 2017. His contributions as a representative of young Australians and those with a lived experience of mental illness were highly valued at the Commission.

In mid-July, the Minister for Health launched our Australian Mental Health Leaders Fellowship and welcomed the first 20 participants.

Last month we held our Commission meeting and forums in Newcastle. The forums were our largest to date, attracting a broad range of people from the Hunter region who shared valuable insights with our Commissioners about their experiences with the mental health system.

We hope you enjoy reading about our progress as we strive to continually improve our mental health system.

Maureen Lewis
Interim CEO,

National Mental Health Commission

Australian Mental Health Leaders Fellowship

On 16 July, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health launched the Australian Mental Health Leaders Fellowship program.

The Fellowship is the first program of its kind in Australia, designed to meet the needs of emerging leaders with a passion and commitment to mental health. It was developed and funded by the Australian Government, and the program is being led by the National Mental Health Commission.

Commissioners meeting in Newcastle

Our Commissioners held their latest meeting in Newcastle at the beginning of August. The dialogue focused on mental health and suicide prevention research and mental health in the farming and mining industries.

Our Commissioners also held two local forums in the Hunter region - one with stakeholders from various sectors and another with consumers, carers, service providers and community mental health organisations. At each forum local issues, challenges and successes were discussed.

We encourage you to read our communique to learn about the positive initiatives underway in the Hunter region as well as some of the challenges.

Rural and remote mental health services

Earlier this year, there was a call for submissions for the Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs inquiry on the accessibility and quality of mental health services in rural and remote Australia. 

The Commission led the development of a joint submission from the Australian Mental Health Commissions (721KB) to the inquiry.

The Community Affairs References Committee held a public hearing on 19 July. Our Interim CEO, Maureen Lewis and Chair, Lucy Brogden provided an overview of the key recommendations in the Australian Mental Health Commissions joint submission.

Mental health and wellbeing in workplaces

Our Chair, Mrs Lucy Brogden specialises in the area of organisational psychology and champions a focus on providing mentally healthy workplaces.

Lucy was interviewed for a story on mental health and wellbeing in workplaces for the latest Master Builders Association of NSW magazine.

In the interview Lucy discusses talking to children about mental health, the media’s reporting of mental health and much more.

Free Borderline Personality Disorder webinar series for practitioners

We have been involved in a series of webinars to support practitioners in improving their understanding of the complexities of BPD and better support people living with BPD and their families.

At the fifth webinar you'll hear presentations from an expert panel who will discuss non-suicidal self-injury and suicidality in BPD and analyse risk factors and highlight strategies to support people experiencing these issues.

The Management of self-injury and suicidality webinar will be held on Wednesday 26 September, 7.15–8.30pm AEST.

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.