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Our Commissioners

In 2018-19, the Advisory Board contributed to setting the Commission’s strategic direction and priorities, and provided independent expertise and advice to the CEO.

Mrs Lucinda Brogden AM, Chair
April 2014 – July 2017 (Commissioner)
August 2017 – January 2018 (Co-Chair)
February 2018 – present (Chair)

Mrs Lucy Brogden brings extensive experience in psychology and has a strong commitment to helping others and building stronger communities.

Lucy’s primary areas of focus are issues facing mental health and wellbeing particularly in the workplace and the community. She takes an evidence based approach to problem solving and social investment.

Lucy has more than 25 years of commercial experience with companies including Macquarie Group and Ernst & Young and more than ten years in organisational psychology. Specifically, Lucy has worked in trusted advisory roles with some of Australia’s leading CEOs, Managing Partners, Ministers and Chairs in investment banking, finance, law and government.

Professor Ngiare Brown
August 2017 - present

Prof Ngiare Brown is a Yuin nation woman from the south coast of NSW. She 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 was the first identified Aboriginal medical graduate from NSW, and is one of the first Aboriginal doctors in Australia. Over the past two decades she has developed extensive national and international networks in Indigenous health and social justice, including engagement with the UN system. Ngiare is a clinician and researcher, and a chief investigator on multiple national and international grants. She works largely in the translation and implementation space, exploring how to utilise ‘best evidence’ to inform policy, resourcing and service delivery determinations.

Ngiare is a founding member and was Foundation CEO of the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA). She is a founding member of the Pacific Region Indigenous Doctors’ Congress (PRIDoC); and a member of the International Indigenous Genomics Alliance. She has served as a Director on a number of national Boards, including the Social Inclusion Board (Cth Government) and Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME). She also serves as a Director on the Bangarra Aboriginal Dance Theatre Board, The Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) Board and the National Centre for Indigenous Genomics Board. Ngiare was reappointed to the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council, and has recently been appointed as a Commissioner on the National Mental Health Commission.

Ngiare is now the Founding Director of Ngaoara, a not-for-profit dedicated to Aboriginal child and adolescent wellbeing. The work of Ngaoara explores culturally relevant approaches to childhood health and social and emotional wellbeing, and supports communities to develop strength based approaches to breaking intergenerational cycles of trauma and disparity.

Professor Wendy Cross
August 2017 – present

Professor Wendy Cross is a mental health nurse with 35 years’ experience. Her primary research interests include clinical supervision, practice development, workplace learning and broad based research methods including quantitative and qualitative paradigms.

She is currently Associate Dean of Health and Head of Nursing at Torrens University and a former Professor of Mental Health Nursing at Monash Nursing and Midwifery, later appointed Professor and Head of School. She was previously the President of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses and is a Fellow of the Australian College of Nursing. She has held senior executive and academic appointments in nursing at Monash Health, Deakin University and the University of Western Sydney.

Ms Kerry Hawkins
September 2018 – present

Ms Kerry Hawkins is the current president of Western Australian Association for Mental Health. She is a carer representative on the WAAMH board for four years and was appointed president of WAAMH in November 2016.

Kerry has acquired a solid understanding of the issues facing the mental health sector. This experience is complemented by her professional career in the private, education and public sectors, including working as a project management consultant at KPMG, a high school teacher, and a strategic advisor for the National Native Title Tribunal. She has previously worked as a senior program manager for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the WA Mental Health Commission, and as a Carer Consultant for North Metro Adult Health Service. Her other board appointments include Vice President of Helping Minds and WA Director for Emerging Minds.

Ms Niharika Hiremath
3 April 2019 – present

Ms Niharika Hiremath has a lived experience of clinical depression and anxiety and has herself been through the mental health care system in Australia. Her recovery led her to find her passion; working to understand and reduce stigma, especially in ethnically diverse communities.

Niharika has seen the impact that quality mental health support can have firsthand, and is committed to improving wellbeing outcomes for all Australians alike. She has held various roles as a youth mental health representative, including on the headspace’s Youth National Reference Group.

Rabbi Mendel Kastel OAM
September 2018 – present

Rabbi Mendel Kastel brings extensive experience in community welfare work and is highly respected for his achievements in dealing with problems amongst the city’s youth. He has worked with people with disability, made frequent hospital and prison visits, helped those suffering from addictions 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.

Rabbi Kastel has a long standing interest in the welfare of younger members of the community. His work within various communities across the world has taken him far beyond his initial role of only working with youth including experience working with hospices.

Rabbi Kastel has experienced first-hand the problems of dealing with entire communities, understanding the importance of establishing and making available life-changing programs for those living in the community.

Ms Christina McGuffie
September 2018 – present

Ms Christina McGuffie has lived experience as both a consumer and a carer. She has experienced first-hand the difficulties associated with getting access to the right care and brings with her knowledge of what is working and what is not working in the mental health system.

Christina 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.

Christina has 28 years’ experience in journalism and government advisory work. She has demonstrated strong communication and stakeholder engagement skills and her experience in communications, media and mental health advice to government are of particular value to the advisory board.

Professor Helen Milroy
August 2017 – present

Professor Helen Milroy is a Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist and Winthrop Professor at the University of Western Australia. She has held positions on state and national mental health advisory committees and boards with a particular focus on the wellbeing of children. Her work and research interests include holistic medicine, child mental health, recovery from trauma and grief, cultural models of care, Aboriginal health and mental health, and developing and supporting the Aboriginal medical workforce.

Helen holds a degree in Medicine and Surgery, is a fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatry and has completed a Certificate of Advanced Training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Dr Elizabeth-Ann Schroeder
3 April 2019 - present

Dr Elizabeth-Ann Schroeder is a Senior Research Fellow for the Centre for the Health Economy and Senior Lecturer for the Macquarie University’s Department of Health Systems and Populations Faculty of Medicine.

She has extensive experience (locally and internationally) in applied research in the economics of complex public health interventions. Her current research work centres around health systems integration and mental health. In her previous roles she has collaborated with national research, audit and commissioning bodies to translate research findings into policy.

Professor Maree Teesson AC
September 2018 – present

Maree Teesson is Professor and Director of The Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use, Director of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Prevention and Early Intervention in Mental Illness and Substance Use (PREMISE) and NHMRC Principal Research Fellow at The University of Sydney.

Maree was announced as a Companion of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day 2018 Honours List. She is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and the Australian Academy of Social Sciences, a National Mental Health Commissioner and Member, National Health and Medical Research Council. She is also a founding member of TheMHS Management Committee since 1991.

Maree’s vision is to build the world’s leading dedicated translational research program for the prevention and treatment of co-occurring mental health and substance use problems. She seeks to increase our understanding of substance use and mental health problems, prevent these where possible and improve treatment responses.

Ms Christine Morgan
March 2019 – present

Ms Christine Morgan is the CEO of the National Mental Health Commission. Prior to joining the Commission, Christine was CEO of the Butterfly Foundation for eating disorders and Director of the National Eating Disorders Collaboration. In the not for profit sector, she was General Manager at Wesley Mission, over the areas of Corporate Services; and Community & Family Development.

Prior to joining Wesley Mission, Christine was Executive General Manager responsible for managing the strategic direction and business unit effectiveness of the Wholesale, Broadband & Media Business Unit at Telstra; and prior to that held the joint roles of General Counsel and Company Secretary for a number of ASX listed companies.

ProfessorHarvey Whiteford
August 2017 – Dec 2018

Professor Harvey Whiteford is a Professor of Population Mental Health at the University of Queensland and Professor of Global Health at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, USA.

He has trained in medicine, psychiatry, public health and health policy in Queensland, Stanford University in California and the Australian National University. He has held senior clinical and administrative positions including Director of Mental Health in the Queensland and federal governments and at the World Bank in Washington DC.