In Health

Western Australia Minister for Mental Health Helen Morton

Mental Health Advisory Council Established In Western Australia

Victor P Taffa

West Australians have the opportunity to be at the forefront of Mental Health reform by nominating for membership of the State’s first Mental Health Advisory Council.

Minister for Mental Health Helen Morton announced two major appointments to the council today.

“It is my pleasure to announce the appointments of Barry MacKinnon as Inaugural Chair of the council and Dr. Judy Edwards as Deputy Chair.” Mrs. Morton said.

The Minister said the Council’s role was to provide high-level, independent advice to Mental Health Commissioner, Eddie Bartnik.

“The Mental Health Advisory Council is a vital step in reform because it will help the commissioner receive guidance from a wide range of community members as well as public servants about major issues affecting mental health care in Western Australia.” the Minister said.

“It is important that the views and experience of consumers, their families and carers, as well as people from regional areas and diverse backgrounds are heard alongside those of clinicians.”

Mrs. Morton said Mr. MacKinnon had extensive experience in community services and the corporate sector. He has served as Chair of the Disability Services Commission; the WA Football Commission; Fire and Emergency Services Authority; and the Speech and Hearing Centre for Deaf Children.

Dr. Edwards is the executive manager of the McCusker Alzeimer’s Research Foundation and a former State Government Minister. Before entering Parliament in 1990, Dr. Edwards worked a general practitioner, working closely with community groups. In her current role, she has a particular interest in the relationship between mental health issues and ageing.

Expressions of interest are being sought for up to 11 community members to make up the council. Appointment is for two or three years with the option of a further two years.

Council members will be appointed by the Minister for Mental Health on the recommendation of the chair. The council will meet at least six times a year in addition to out of session work as required.

The closing date for nominations is February 11, 2011.

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