*(on leave until 2/11/2013 - see below)*
Jaelea Skehan has been with the Hunter Institute of Mental Health since 2001. She is a psychologist, holds a conjoint appointment with the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle and is currently completing a PhD in Psychiatry.
Jaelea brings a broad experience in translating and applying the evidence for mental health promotion, prevention of mental ill-health and the prevention of suicide. She has worked across a range of settings and sectors and has been instrumental in the development of suicide prevention, community awareness and policy related initiatives at the Hunter Institute of Mental Health.
Jaelea is well known for her specific expertise in media reporting and portrayal of suicide and mental illness. Since 2002 she managed the education and training component of the Mindframe National Media Initiative in Australia aimed at promoting responsible and accurate portrayal of suicide and mental illness. Jaelea is a member of the International Taskforce for Suicide and the Media, written a number of peer-reviewed publications about suicide and the media and mental illness and the media. She has led the development of resources and professional development for journalism and public relations students, news and entertainment media, the mental health and suicide prevention sectors, police and courts.
Jaelea is passionate about building understanding and capacity for health sector, non-health sector, communities and individuals to be involved in the prevention of mental ill-health and the prevention of suicide. She has led a team of staff working on complex state-wide projects for the NSW Ministry of Health, including the development and dissemination of a state-wide framework on the promotion of mental health and well being and the prevention of mental ill-health and the development of community guidelines for the discussion of suicide in schools, workplaces, families, communities and online.
Jaelea has been involved in a range of other national, state and local projects incorporating multi-media resource development, health promotion, program evaluation and education and training. Jaelea is currently leading new strategic directions for the Hunter Institute, including the development of key research partnerships and addressing current gaps in national and state priorities for mental health and suicide prevention.
Tel: 02 4924 6925
Gavin has fifteen years experience as teacher educator and researcher. He has an honours degree in Education, a master’s degree in Educational Studies and is completing a PhD in Education. In addition to this experience Gavin has held positions as a research academic, a commonwealth senior research scientist and a mental health projects manager.
Gavin has conducted research in the areas of the psycho-social aspects of stress in the workplace; the acquisition of metacognitive skills; the nature of regulation and learning in adults; the role of environment and context in learning; the social and emotional dimensions of instruction and learning; the philosophy of consciousness and self in relation to cognitive development; the role of identity in intergroup and team dynamics; and human factors assessments.
Gavin commenced with the Institute as a Senior Project Officer working on the Response Ability Teacher Education project. In this role he assisted in the development of Education Connect, revisions to the Response Ability web site, and the dissemination of mental health based curriculum materials for tertiary educators. In his current role as Projects Manager he works with a range of education sector projects to promote awareness of the important role that social and emotional well being plays in education.
Tel: 02 4924 6945
Todd R Heard
Program Manager (acting)
Todd has been working in a variety of roles in the Federal and State Governments since 2003. Todd graduated from the University of Newcastle with an honours degree in Psychology, he is a registered psychologist and a board approved supervisor with experience in psychometrics, occupational assessment and rehabilitation; working with children and families in the Out of Home Care Setting; and providing specialist psychological services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and individuals. Todd is a Conjoint Fellow with the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle; he is a member of the Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association; and a Board member of the Australian Indigenous Allied Health Association.
Prior to commencing with the Hunter Institute of Mental Health, Todd was working for the Population Health team within the Hunter New England Local Health District. During his time with Population Health Todd was responsible for managing health promotion programs in the area of sexual health, directing the Surveillance and Monitoring Team and providing support to the Cultural Redesign initiatives across all Population Health services.
Since commencing at the Hunter Institute of Mental Health, Todd has commenced providing clinical leadership and program management support to the Families and Carers Team. Todd’s directorate is responsible for managing the planning and implementation of two programs, they are:
- Partners in Depression Program, www.partnersindepression.com.au;
- Child Illness and Resilience Program.
Tel: 02 4924 6900
Program Manager (acting)
As Projects Coordinator on the Mindframe National Media Initiative’s education and training program, Marc works with a number of sectors on ensuring responsible and accurate portrayals of mental illness and suicide in the Australian mass media.
Marc has more than 15 years’ experience working in and with the media, both as a senior journalist (UK) and in media and communications for the National Health Service (UK) and the South Australian Health Department (mental health reform).
Marc now plays a leading role project managing Mindframe after joining the Hunter Institute of Mental Health in February 2009. A key component of his work involves managing resource development and dissemination nationally to the media, health sector, universities, police and entertainment industry. Marc is also involved in high level stakeholder engagement, which includes undertaking face-to-face media training, presentations at national health and media conferences, university lectures for journalism and public relations students, and workshops for the mental health and suicide prevention sector. This work also contributes to the evidence-base towards future resource enhancement and development.
As well as line managing staff in the Mindframe team, Marc also sits and contributes to the HIMH Operations Management team and is a full member of the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA).
Tel: 02 4924 6905
Mobile: 0427 227 503
Business Support Manager
As Business Support Manager, Karen is responsible for providing support to the HIMH management team and project teams, and managing administration staff.
Prior to joining the Institute in 2007, Karen managed the Cardiac Investigations Unit administration team and supported the management team at a Queensland Health specialist cardiac hospital. She has also worked within the Acute Geriatric and Rehabilitation Program and the Communicable Diseases Unit.
Karen has past experience in office management, financial accounting and reporting, bank reconciliation, inbound tourism and reinsurance.
Tel: 02 4924 6914
Karen Stafford is a Project Coordinator at the Hunter Institute of Mental Health and a Conjoint Fellow with the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle.
She has over twenty years of experience in the biological and health sciences, as a research assistant, clinical dietitian, project officer
Karen joined the Institute in 2000, bringing her existing skills in health promotion and client education into the area of mental health promotion. She holds an honours degree in science, with postgraduate qualifications in dietetics and health management, and is studying toward a graduate diploma in psychology. Karen has a particular interest in the mental health of children and young people and the benefits of promoting positive social, emotional and psychological development.
She is currently coordinating a project relating to mental health promotion and prevention in early childhood settings.
Tel: 02 4924 6919
Gabrielle joined the Institute in 2010 as the Senior Project Officer for the APT Training Project, which involved the development and rollout of a mandatory core skills training program for all clinical mental health staff in Hunter New England Health.
In addition to this project, she has also worked as Senior Project Officer for the Partners in Depression project and the CHiRP Program. Gabrielle is now the Project Coordinator for the Family and Carer team which includes coordination for both of these carer-oriented projects.
Prior to joining the Institute, Gabrielle worked for 12 years as a social worker in a variety of health settings in Hunter New England Health, including the Viral Hepatitis Service at the John Hunter Hospital; Renal Dialysis ward; Children's ward and the Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Service.
Tel: 02 4924 6910
Bronwen is an experienced Workforce Learning and Development specialist having worked in the healthcare and manufacturing sectors. Bronwen started her career at Toyota South Africa Manufacturing where she attained her Hons Degree in Industrial Psychology gaining invaluable experience in project management - The Toyota Way. Bronwen then moved to the UK where she joined the NHS Mental Health sector. In her capacity Bronwen led and implemented a number of successful OD projects and achieved national recognition for best practice and innovation within healthcare. Here Bronwen commenced her Masters in Strategic HRM. Bronwen's first role in Australia was with KM&T consulting were she managed to combine her experience from both sectors, mentioned above, to support business service improvement projects within Healthcare services across Australia."
Bronwen now joins us as project co-ordinator for Mindframe.
Tel: 02 4924 6907
Senior Project Officer
Sara has an Honours Degree in Social Science, majoring in policy and sociology, from the University of New South Wales. Since joining the Institute as a Senior Project Officer in October 2009, Sara has been involved with a number of projects including the development of a NSW framework for mental health promotion, illness prevention and early intervention, and teacher education resources for children and young people’s mental health.
Previously, Sara has held research positions at the area health service level where she worked in the drug and alcohol area and more recently as a policy project officer with the Commonwealth Governments national peak body for health care safety and quality, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.
Tel: 02 4924 6927
Administration Support Officer
In her capacity as Administration Support Officer Sue Boswell’s primary role within the Hunter Institute of Mental Health is to provide administration support to both upper management and project management team members.
Prior to her appointment as administration support officer in early 2011 for the Hunter Institute of Mental Health Sue worked for Hunter New England Local Health District in the capacity of administration officer for three years. Sue also holds 16 years of professional experience in customer service. Sue also is an active member of Dancesport Australia & SATD.
Tel: 02 4924 6900
Elise holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Charles Sturt University. She joined the Hunter Institute of Mental Health in 2012 as a Project Officer for the Partners in Depression national initiative and a member of the Family and Carer team.
Elise has also previously worked with the Mindframe team on the Mindframe National Media Initiative.
Prior to joining the Institute, Elise has had extensive experience working in family and children’s court law. She has also had several years experience in supervised contact work with children in Out of Home Care and their families.
Tel: 02 4924 6870
Senior Project Officer
Georgia joined the Institute team in December 2010 and is predominately involved in the Response Ability Project. She is a graduate of the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor degree in Management and is currently undertaking a Masters degree in Health Industry Management.
Georgia is actively involved in facilitating communication and information management within the project team, liaising with other Local Health Network departments and managing communication with external stakeholders.
Prior to her current role she spent 15 months working as an Executive Officer at South Eastern Sydney Illawarra Area Health Service. She also has five years experience working for Westpac Banking Cooperation in varying roles including time in Group Internal Communications.
Tel: 02 4924 6934
Senior Project Officer
Gemma graduated from the University of Western Sydney with a Bachelor of Health Sciences majoring in Health Promotion and Health Service Management. She is currently studying a Masters of Social Work through Griffith University.
Gemma joined the Institute in January 2012 and is currently a Senior Project Officer within the Family and Carers Team. Gemma has been part of the Child Illness Resilience Program (CHiRP) since its inception and also works across the Partners in Depression (PiD) Program.
Prior to joining the Institute, Gemma had been working within the Youth Health Sector gaining experience in providing health care services to marginalised and 'at risk' young people. Gemma was heavily involved in the creative development of innovative and appropriate programs for young people to address their needs. Gemma has extensive experience working as a Youth Health Education Officer, specialising in safe sex education and social relationship building amongst ‘at-risk’ youth in Sydney's Inner West. This work also included domestic violence and sexual assault prevention programs.
Tel: 02 4924 6920
Nicole joined the institute in December 2011. Nicole graduated from the Australian National University with an honours degree in Psychology. Nicole has recently undertaken a Certificate IV in Human Resources, and a Certificate IV in Government and Project Management. Prior to joining the Institute Nicole has worked in early intervention with the Australian Taxation Office.
At the Hunter Institute of Mental Health Nicole has worked on: Response Ability; Child Mental Health and Well being Competencies and Professional Practices for the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Workforce.
Tel: 02 4924 6937
Senior Project Officer
Tania joined the Institute in February 2011 as a Senior Project Officer with the Partners in Depression Initiative, focusing on the clinical governance aspects of the program.
Tania graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Newcastle in 1997, and has primarily worked in clinical roles in various settings across NSW, SA and Victoria.
Her work history includes experience in mental health, sexual health, homelessness and working with volunteers to support “at risk” young people being questioned by Police.
Tel: 02 4924 6947
Katrina joined the Institute as a member of the Families and Carers Team in September 2012.
Katrina has an Honours Degree in Psychology from the University of Newcastle and has previously worked in health promotion with the Hunter Centre for Health Advancement (now Population Health in HNELHD).
She also has experience working with at-risk youth in a non-government school setting, with children and families in Out of Home Care and Adoptions and as a counselling psychologist with provisional registration with AHPRA.
Katrina is currently a Project Officer working on the Childhood Illness Resilience Program.
Tel: 02 4924 6958
Crystal has been with the Institute for over five years and is a Communications Officer for the Mindframe project team.
Crystal's role is demanding and involves a number of communication, project development and administrative tasks as well as providing a high level of support to the Program Manager, Projects Manager and all project staff.
Crystal has certificates in Event Management/Public Relations and Business Administration with years of experience in both fields. This year Crystal will also be pursuing a Bachelor of Communications through Griffith University to complement to her current role. Crystal has an extensive background in customer service and on a part-time basis teaches classes at a local dance studio.
Tel: 02 4924 6904
Communications and Executive Support
Mimi joined the Institute in April 2007 to work on the Mindframe National Media Initiative as a Projects Communication Officer to co-ordinate stakeholder meetings, media briefings, guest lectures, conferences and workshops for all Mindframe Programs.
Mimi has an education in Business Administration and Public Relations and Event Management, along with her 17 years working experience in various facets of administration and more recently 9 years in senior administrative roles.
In December 2012, Mimi transitioned to a new role as Communications and Executive Support to provide high level executive support to the Director and the Business Support Unit as well as to provide administrative support to the Director's national, state and local based projects.
Prior to joining the Institute, Mimi was a Tactical Resource Planner for a telecommunications company involved in forecasting and strategic project planning.
Tel: 02 4924 6959
Administration Support Officer
Commenced working with HMIH in February 2011. An experienced APS employee who has worked for an Australian Government Department for 11 years prior to her current position.
Cultural diversity awareness: experience as volunteer with Department of Immigration as support person for refugees. Accredited National Small Group Trainer (Certificate IV Workplace Assessment & Training).
Diploma Applied Science (Ag Science). In private life is co-ordinator and facilitator with the outback project for a national institute.
Tel:02 4924 6913
Senior Project Officer
Liz has an Honours Degree in Psychology obtained through the University of Newcastle. Her Honours research assessed attitudes toward Transsexuals and Intersex conditions on a worldwide scale via an online survey.
Liz has been working for the Institute since April 2006. Since commencing Liz has worked on several projects including: Models of protection against risk of suicide for people with a mental illness following discharge from a mental health service; MindMatters; Response Ability and Partners in Depression.
Tel: 02 4924 6936
Senior Project Officer
Jenyfer is a graduate of Deakin University and has worked in the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs (AOD) and mental health sector for over 20 years in Victoria, NSW and the USA. She has worked on a range of Health Promotion research projects and has developed training and policy for the health and community sector.
She has been a Project Coordinator, Trainer & Assessor with the Mental Health Coordinating Council and also facilitates workshops for Adults Surviving Child Abuse (ASCA).
She has been an Advocacy volunteer with World Vision in Human Trafficking and she has a Grad Dip in Social Science, Diploma of Community Services- Mental Health & AOD, Cert IV TAA, is a Registered Nurse and is in the process of studying for a Master of Social Change and Development at the University of Newcastle.
She has recently joined the Institute as a Senior Project Officer with the Mindframe National Media project team, and works with a number of sectors (universities and health etc.) on ensuring responsible and accurate portrayals of mental illness and suicide in the Australian mass media. A key component of this work involves resource development and dissemination nationally to the media, health sector, universities, police and entertainment industry.
Tel: 02 4924 6705
Ally joined the Institute in December 2011. Ally graduated from the University of Newcastle with an honours degree in Psychology. Ally has previous research experience in the areas of health and exercise, intergroup relations, and health behaviour. Prior to joining the Institute, Ally worked as a Research Assistant for the Health Behaviour Research Groups, as part of the Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour. Ally is currently working on Foundations.
Tel: 02 4924 6940
Kim has a Degree in Social Science and a Graduate Diploma in Psychology from the University of Newcastle.
Since first joining the Institute in March 2012, Kim has worked on the Response Ability Teacher Education Program as part of the Child and Youth project team and now across various project components in the Mindframe team.
Prior to joining the Institute, Kim developed a range of skills through her role as a research coordinator for Kathie Heyman; entrepreneur and coordinator of the Wallsend Main Street Project funded by Newcastle City Council.
Additionally, Kim has over a decade experience in small business and office management; three years previous experience as a voluntary Client Support Worker in the mental health units at the Mater Hospital Waratah; and experience as a Personal Carer.
Telephone: 02 4924 6719
Senior Project Officer
Ellen is a graduate from the University of New South Wales with a Masters in Public Health and a graduate certificate in Public Health. These studies included subjects in Indigenous health, health promotion, community development, statistics and epidemiology, health management and international health. Ellen also holds a bachelor degree from the University of Western Sydney in Applied Science (TCM). She recently completed a Diploma in Project Management to complement her role at the institute.
Ellen joined the Institute in May 2009 and has been involved in several projects. Ellen is presently working on the Foundations and Response Ability: Education teams.
Prior to joining the Institute, Ellen worked in mental health promotion for a national program funded by FaHCSIA. Ellen has also operated and worked in a clinical health business for several years before moving into the health promotion field.
Tel: 02 4924 6941
Kristy Platt joined the Hunter Institute of Mental Health in November 2012 as a Project Officer on Mindframe, an initiative that aims to encourage the responsible, accurate and sensitive representation of mental illness and suicide in the Australian mass media.
With more than seven years’ experience as a senior journalist in Sydney and Newcastle, as well as spending several years working in the mental health sector in the UK, Kristy has a particular interest in ensuring that fellow journalists are informed of the impact that factors such as language choice, stereotyping and story placement can have on vulnerable readers.
Kristy graduated from a degree in Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong in 2003, majoring in communication and cultural studies, and writing.
Tel: 02 4924 6929
Alexandra joined the Hunter Institute of Mental Health in October 2012 as a Project Officer with the Mindframe team.
Alexandra graduated from the University of Newcastle with a Bachelor of Psychology in 2010. She has over 5 years experience working within the mental health sector and has worked along side several community organisations providing support to people experiencing a mental illness.
Prior to joining the Institute Alexandra worked on a Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) funded project with Hunter New England Mental Health-Psychiatric Rehabilitation Service, assisting forensic and non-acute inpatient consumers access vocational options to build independence and improve community participation.
Tel: 02 4924 6932
Jenny graduated from the University of Newcastle with a honours degree in psychology. Prior to joining the Institute Jenny worked as a research officer at the University of Newcastle with the Health Behaviour Research Group and the Priority Research Centre for Health Behaviour.
Jenny is a project officer at the institute and is currently working on the NSW Community Guidelines for discussing suicide and the Mindframes project.
Tel: 02 49 246719
Ross graduated from the University of Newcastle in 2007 with a Bachelor of Psychology (Hon class I). Prior to joining the Institute, Ross completed a PhD in Biomedical Science at the University of Newcastle.
Ross has extensive research experience, and has authored a number of peer-reviewed publications investigating the neurological sequelae of chronic stress, the anti-inflammatory properties of commercially available antidepressants and the neuroinflammatory model of depression.
Ross joined the Institute in late 2012, working as a Project Officer with the MindFrame team and is currently working on the NSW Community Guidelines for Discussing Suicide project.
Tel:02 4924 6744
Business Support Officer
Michelle has a degree in Commerce and has been one of the long-standing staff members at the Institute. She is an integral part of the administration and operations team.
Her main responsibilities include office management and business support, accounts functions, monitoring the Institute's finances, and providing communications support to project staff.
Tel: 02 4924 6911
Staff Currently on Leave
*(on leave until 2/11/2013)*
Trevor Hazell is the Director of the Hunter Institute of Mental Health and a conjoint senior lecturer in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Newcastle. Trevor trained in social work at Flinders University and began his social work career in the Department of Social Security in Newcastle. His early career involved community development work in disadvantaged communities in Newcastle and he wrote the first social plan for Newcastle City Council. Later he worked for the NSW Department of Community Services (in planning, research and management positions in the Hunter Region), and since 1992, for the Hunter Area Health Service (now the Hunter New England Local Health District) as Program Manager for Health Promotion.
In 1997 Trevor joined the Hunter Institute and since then he has worked to expand the Institute’s focus to include the application of health promotion strategies to the field of mental health. He led its early work in exploring ways in which professionals from a range of sectors can play a role in building resilience in individuals and communities and in preventing suicide leading to the evolution of the Institute’s key capacity building programs Mindframe and Response Ability. Through these programs the Institute has developed a national and international reputation for translation of research evidence and theoretical perspectives into resources for building the capacity of others to improve mental health.
In recent years he has supported the growth of two new areas of work for which the Institute has become well known namely: the development of models and frameworks for better describing and understanding mental health promotion and the prevention of mental ill-health; and the development of interventions to build the capacity of health and community professionals to address the impact of major depression on those who love or care for a person with depression (the Partners in Depression) program.
Tel: 02 4924 6907
Senior Project Officer
Victoria is a Registered Psychologist with a background in mental health promotion, research and clinical work. Following graduation from the University of Newcastle in 2003, Victoria worked for the Hunter Institute of Mental Health on a range of health promotion projects; and the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health on a research project for persons with comorbid substance misuse and depression. In recent years Victoria has worked in the area of clinical assessment and counselling for the federal government agency, Centrelink.
Victoria rejoined the Institute in August 2009 as a Senior Project Officer for the Mindframe for Police and Courts and the Mind Essentials for QLD Emergency Services projects.
Tel: 02 4924 6931
Senior Project Officer
Amy is a graduate of the University of Newcastle with an Honours degree in Psychology. Amy conducted her final year research on social psychology and later went on to work as a research assistant at the University, initially in the School of Behavioural Sciences and then as part of the Engaging Fathers Program at the Family Action Centre. Amy began working at the Hunter Institute of Mental Health in 2006.
In January 2007, Amy joined the Mindframe team to work on Response Ability for Journalism Education and Mindframe Stage and Screen. Amy has worked in the music industry for 15 years and is an award-winning performer and composer. This has allowed Amy to be involved in many community events and projects, including a variety of theatre productions with local and touring theatre companies.
For the last two years, Amy has been the Coordinator for two community-based, arts and mental health promotion projects targeting Hunter youth - MindPlay, a year 11 schools drama competition and Youth Rockin' the Black Dog, a band competition for young aspiring musicians.
In 2011, Amy was a guest performer at the opening ceremony for the International Arts Health Conference in Canberra. Amy enjoys the opportunity to bring together her passion and expertise in both mental health and the arts.
Tel: 02 4924 6924