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Announcement of new Commissioners and extension of current Commissioner

Announcement of new Commissioners and extension of current Commissioner

The Commission is pleased to announce the commencement of four new Commissioners, along with the extension of a current Commissioner.

Ms Kerry Hawkins is the current president of Western Australian Association for Mental Health. She has previously worked as a senior program manager for the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the WA Mental Health Commission, and as a carer consultant for North Metro Adult Health Service. Her board appointments include Vice President of Helping Minds and WA Director for Emerging Minds.

Rabbi Mendel Kastel OAM brings extensive experience in community welfare work and is highly respected for his achievements in dealing with problems amongst youth. He has worked with people with disability, assisted those suffering from addiction and offered counselling services for the bereaved. His skill, knowledge and interest spans across the broad spectrum of mental health including trauma, homelessness, youth, suicide prevention, economics, social investment and innovation.

Ms Christina McGuffie has lived experience as both a consumer and a carer. She has an in depth knowledge of government and has established good working relationships across the sector, including state and territory governments and key leaders in mental health. After 11 years in federal politics, she has developed extensive knowledge about how governments function and what they need from bodies such as the Commission. She also has 28 years’ experience in journalism and government advisory work.

Professor Maree Teesson AC is currently a director at the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use and NHMRC Principal Research Fellow at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre and Professorial Fellow at the Black Dog Institute, UNSW. She is also a Fellow at the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and Fellow at the Australian Academy of Social Sciences.

And finally, Professor Ngiare Brown will continue her role as a Commissioner. Professor Brown is a senior Aboriginal medical practitioner with qualifications in medicine, public health and primary care, and has studied bioethics, medical law and human rights. She is currently convening a governance council for a newly established biorepository for Indigenous genomic research.

We are delighted to have such extensive and wide-ranging expertise within the Commission. The individual and collective input from our Commissioners helps steer our work as we continue to monitor and report on Australia’s mental health and suicide prevention system.

The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health - media release (259KB)

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.