Jaelea Skehan

Director

Hunter Institute of Mental Health

JaeleaJaelea Skehan is an internationally respected leader in the prevention of mental illness and the prevention of suicide. In 2014 Jaelea was announced as one of Australia's 100 Women of Influence, a national honour sponsored by the Australian Financial Review and Westpac highlighting the important contribution women make in creating bold and diverse future for Australia.

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Marc Bryant

Program Manager

Suicide Prevention

MarcMarc joined the Hunter Institute of Mental Health in February 2009. He is a qualified journalist and communication professional, having completed the National Council for the Training Journalists pre-entry course (UK) and a Bachelor of Communication (Honours). Marc is also a full member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA). He has 16 years’ experience working in and with the media, both as a senior print journalist (UK), in media and communication for the National Health Service (UK) and the South Australian Health Department (mental health reform). 

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Dr Gavin Hazel (PhD)

Program Manager

Mental Health and Research

Gavin Hazel profile picDr Gavin Hazel is dedicated to creating and sharing knowledge that helps children, families, and the professionals who support them. Gavin holds an honours degree in Education, a master’s degree in Educational Studies and a PhD in Educational Psychology. His work focuses on the development, implementation and evaluation of evidence-informed resources, practices, and professional education.

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Sara Bartlett

Project Lead

Suicide Prevention

Sara Bartlett has been with the Hunter Institute of Mental Health since 2009. She has a Bachelor of Social Science (Honours), majoring in Policy and Sociology from the University of New South Wales. Sara currently holds the position of Senior Project Officer within the Response Ability project team.

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Melinda Benson

Project Lead

Suicide Prevention

Melinda joined the team at the Hunter Institute of Mental Health in 2017 after relocating to Newcastle from Adelaide. She is dedicated to supporting the work in the prevention of suicide in Australia and improving the mental health and wellbeing of all individuals in our community.

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Suzanne Boswell

Administration Officer

Business Support Unit

Sue has been working at the Hunter Institute of Mental Health since 2011. Sue commenced as an Administration Support Officer in the Business Support Unit and in June 2013 transitioned to a new role as Project Assistant. Sue is an integral part of the Business Support Unit and her primary role is to provide administration support to the Director and Program Managers and to assist with key project activities, working with project staff on the Child and Youth Program and Family and Carer Team.

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Tegan Cotterill

Coordinator

LifeSpan Newcastle

Tegan commenced at the Hunter Institute of Mental Health in early 2013. Tegan has experience in project management in health settings with expertise in suicide prevention.

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Brooke Cross

Senior Communications Officer

Business Support Unit

Brooke is currently the Senior Communications Officer for the Hunter Institute, managing the organisation’s internal and external communications and working across teams to promote their work and support program objectives.She holds a Bachelor of Communications, a Bachelor of Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education.

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Victoria Clack

Senior Project Officer

Mental Health and Research

Victoria is a registered psychologist and has worked in the mental health and suicide prevention sectors for the past decade.

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Lauren Davenport

Research Officer

Mental Health and Research

Lauren Davenport has been with the Hunter Institute of Mental Health since March 2017. She has a Bachelor of Health Science (Honours), majoring in Health Promotion and Family, Society and Health from Deakin University. Lauren also has a Master of Applied Science (research). Lauren currently holds the position of Research Officer within the Child, Youth and Wellbeing team.

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Julia Dray

Research Officer/Project Officer

Suicide Prevention

Julia joined the Hunter Institute of Mental Health in March 2017, as a Research and Project Officer with the Communication, Media and Arts team. Julia holds a Bachelor of Psychology (Hons 1) in 2012, and is nearing completion of a PhD in Psychology in 2017, both with the University of Newcastle. Julia has experience in concepts of health psychology, child and adolescent mental health and resilience, health promotion, and research methodology particularly relating to the evaluation of complex health and mental health interventions.

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Jane Harris

Senior Project Officer

Mental Health and Research

Jane comes to the Hunter Institute of Mental Health with extensive experience in health service planning, service development and evaluation with a particular interest in mental health, community health and Indigenous health services.

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Crystal Hatchard

Communications Officer

Business Support Unit

Crystal has been a staff member of the Hunter Institute of Mental Health since 2007. She is currently completing an undergraduate Bachelor of Communication through Griffith University, and has a range of certificates in business administration and event management.

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Jennifer Howard

Project Officer

Suicide Prevention

Jennifer joined the Hunter Institute of Mental Health in January 2017 and has a Ba of Nutrition and Dietetics (Hons). Working within the suicide prevention team, Jennifer’s experience as a Dietitian and knowledge of media, product development and marketing is helpful to providing a more holistic approach to suicide prevention in the eating disorder population.  

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Mimi Ilinkovski

Project Assistant

Suicide Prevention

Mimi has been with the Hunter Institute of Mental Health since 2007. She has an education in Business Administration, Public Relations and Event Management along with 20 years’ experience working in various facets of administration, and 15 years of which have been in senior administrative roles.

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Brydie Jameson

Project Officer

Suicide Prevention

Brydie joined the Hunter Institute in May 2017 as a Project Officer with the Suicide Prevention team and is currently involved in the delivery of the Hunter Institute’s Mindframe National Media Initiative. She has Bachelor of Health Sciences from the University of Sydney and is currently completing a Master of Public Health with the University of Newcastle. 

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Elizabeth Kemp

Senior Project Officer

Mental Health and Research

Elizabeth Kemp has been working at the Hunter Institute of Mental Health since April 2006. She has an Honours Degree in Psychology from the University of Newcastle and her research assessed attitudes toward Transsexuals and Intersex conditions.

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Jenyfer Locke

Senior Project Officer

Suicide Prevention

Jenyfer has been with the Hunter Institute of Mental Health since July 2012. She has a Graduate Diploma in Social Science, Diploma of Community Services - Mental Health and AOD, Cert IV Training and Assessment, is a Registered Nurse and is working toward a Master of Social Change and Development at the University of Newcastle.

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Amanda McAtamney

Senior Project Officer

Suicide Prevention

Amanda has been with the Hunter Institute of Mental Health since 2013. Her work has a strong focus on mental health promotion, capacity building and community engagement.

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Dr Katie McGill

Coordinator

LifeSpan Newcastle

Katie is a clinical psychologist who has worked clinically and in project management for over 15 years. Her areas of interest and expertise is in researching, and translating and implementing evidence into practice in the suicide prevention and mental health sector. Katie currently holds two positions - LifeSpan Newcastle Coordinator with the Hunter Institute of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research Manager with Hunter New England Mental Health Service.     

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Kim McNaughton

Project Officer

Business Support Unit

Kim started working at the Hunter Institute of Mental Health as a Project Officer for the Child and Youth Response Ability program in March 2012, prior to joining the Mindframe National Media Initiative team. She has a degree in Social Science and Psychology from the University of Newcastle and received two graduate awards for Best Presentation and Most Popular Presentation in 2010.

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Ellen Newman

Project Lead

Mental Health and Research

Ellen has been a staff member at the Hunter Institute of Mental Health since 2009. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science, Master of Public Health, Diploma in Project Management and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment. Ellen is currently the Projects Coordinator on the Child, Youth Wellbeing team. Ellen has a background in mental health promotion with a focus on the mental health and wellbeing of babies and young children. In particular, she has an interest in the role that the early childhood education and care workforce can play in supporting the social and emotional development and wellbeing of babies, children and families.

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Kristy Platt

Senior Project Officer

Suicide Prevention

Kristy has been with the Hunter Institute of Mental Health since 2012. Prior to this, she spent nine years as a senior journalist and writer, and has worked in mental health for NSW Health and the UK’s National Health Service for seven years. Kristy is also the Hunter Institute’s MindOUT! LGBTI Champion.

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Celia Rae

Senior Project Officer

Mental Health and Research

Celia began working at the Hunter Institute of Mental Health in 2011. She has Masters degrees in Public Health and Health Management and over the past 10 years has worked in a number of health administrative positions in several different countries.

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Dr Renate Thienel

Research Officer

Mental Health and Research

Dr Renate Thienel joined the Hunter Institute of Mental Health in August 2015. Holding a B.A. (Hons), M.Psych. (Research) and a PhD (Science, Dr. rer. nat.), she is an experienced researcher with expertise in mental health related research project planning, implementation, evaluation and dissemination.  

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Dr Ross Tynan

Research Lead

Mental Health and Research

Ross is a postdoctoral researcher who has worked at the Hunter Institute of Mental Health since 2012. Ross holds a Bachelor of Psychology (Hons I), and a PhD in Biomedical Science. His current role involves leading the organisations research and evaluation.  

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Amy Visser

Senior Project Officer

Suicide Prevention

Amy is an Honours graduate in Psychology with over 10 years’ experience in prevention of mental ill-health and suicide. Amy is passionate about creating opportunities to promote mental wellbeing through community and the arts.

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Michelle Wallace

Administration Officer

Business Support Unit

Michelle has been one of the long-standing staff members at the Hunter Institute of Mental Health, having commenced in March 1994. She is an integral part of the administration and operations team assisting with support across various program areas.

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Staff Currently on Leave


Nicola Ingold

Business Development Manager

Business Support Unit

Nicola Ingold is dedicated to reducing mental illness and suicide and improving wellbeing across family and carer settings, industry and workplace settings, and other areas of identified high need. Nicola’s areas of specialisation and interest include: workplace mental health (particularly in police settings and the mining sector), supporting families and carers of people experiencing mental ill-health, suicide prevention, eating disorders and mental health promotion.


Elena Terol

Senior Project Officer

Suicide Prevention

Elena has been working with the Hunter Institute of Mental Health since 2011. A registered nurse by background, before moving to Australia she worked in the UK, where she completed a Masters in Public Health in 2002. While in the UK, she held positions at the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and the Health Protection Agency. During that time, she led the development of public health policy and performance improvement programs.