The Board is elected bi-annually by members of Mental Health Carer NSW (MHCN, formerly Arafmi NSW). The majority of Board members (at least 51%) must be carers of a person with a mental illness. This ensures that MHCN remains connected with the needs of carers.
The Board is also advised by the Mental Health Carers MHCN Carer Peak Advisory Committee (CPAC) on carer issues and on feedback for official inquiries and processes.
Anne Stedman – President
Anne has been the Primary Carer for her son who has experienced chronic mental illness over the last 13 years and during this time has gained experiential knowledge of the complexity of issues regarding the care and support of people experiencing mental illness in the community.
These issues involve, to name a few:
The legal and ethical dilemma between Duty of Care and the individual’s right to self-determination.
The impact of mental illness on the individual, the Carer and the community.
The limitations and gaps in service provision within the NSW Mental Health system- often a result of the above mentioned legal and ethical issues, as well as staffing levels and communication flow processes between acute and community services.
At a community level she has supported and assisted in the creation of “The Hub” at Bateau Bay as well as the property, Lerida. The Hub is a source for information and support for those affected by mental illness in our local community. Consumer participation and peer voluntary workforce have been encouraged at both sites and Anne has been heartened to observe the workers develop confidence and competency in their roles and the value this contributes to their lives.
Anne is an active member of the Carer Consumer Advisory Group for Hunter PIR. She has observed the rollout of the NDIS in the Hunter Trial Site and the valuable role PIR has developed in relation to assisting and supporting people with a lived experience of chronic and persistent mental ill health within the Hunter region.
Anne has also been an active member of the Board of Mental Health Carers NSW (MHCN) as well as Central Coast ARAFMI and Hunter ARAFMI. These roles have involved attending conferences and forums and reporting back to the respective Board and members on the latest developments and Best Practice directions within the sector.
Anne is also a passionate advocate amongst organizations and the community around the concept of Social Enterprise as well as training and supported work opportunities, for both Carers and people with a lived experience of mental illness, as an intrinsic part of the Recovery process.
Jenny Learmont – Vice President
Jenny has been a carer for 40 years of a son who developed severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder(OCD) at the age of 13, and later developed Bi-Polar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), and, in an effort to relieve very distressing and debilitating symptoms, resorted to drug and alcohol misuse.
For many years Jenny had no referrals for supports for herself as a carer, so in 1990, taking the initiative, she was elected Chair of the Anxiety Disorders Alliance (ADA), a Standing Committee of the NSW Mental Health Association (MHA), a position she held until 2006.
ADA commenced support groups for those with OCD and other anxiety disorders, and their carers and friends. ADA later established self-help groups for consumers, “Triumph over Phobias & OCD” usually known as TOP, and, in 2000, introduced “Small Steps”, an early intervention programme that disseminated information about anxiety disorders to primary-school teachers and parents.
ADA also established an anxiety information line, held free community anxiety forums and held two national conferences on anxiety disorders.
ADA significantly added to community awareness of anxiety disorders and to current treatments available, and contributed a great deal to breaking down prejudicial attitudes towards people with mental illness.
2006- 2015: President; Anxiety Disorders Association NSW Inc, (ADAN). The Anxiety Disorders Association NSW Inc. (ADAN), was established in 2006 to assist health professionals, carers and consumers through workshops, seminars, and conferences. Since 2007 ADAN, has worked with beyondblue, university researchers, local community groups, MHA, Life-Line, and local Councils, convening free community forums on anxiety disorders, and held a very successful, well attended National Anxiety Disorders Conference. Jenny in 2005 was a founding member and then Chair of the NSW Consumers Advisory Committee on Mental Health (NSW CAG).
She is a member of the advisory committee for the Centre for Emotional Health, Macquarie University, is on the General Peak Advisory Committee (PAC) and the Alcohol and Drug Peak Advisory Committee (AD PAC), is a member of Private Mental Health Consumer Carer Network (NSW), and is also a member of the Anxiety Disorder Reference Committee NSW.
Jenny is presently Vice President of Mental Health Carers NSW (MHCN).
In 1996 she was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM), and admitted to the degree of DOCTOR OF MEDICINE HONORIS CAUSA, at the University of NSW for eminent service to the community. For many years Jenny lead a research team into long term non-progression of HIV in a cohort of blood transfusion recipients at The Australian Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service. Jenny is now an Honorary Associate of the Centre for Virus Research at the Westmead Millennium Institute.
Fayez Nour – Treasurer
Fayez’s objectives lie in treasuring people relationships as the greatest asset in life and to be personally marked with compassion, passion, be loyal to what is right and maintain a motivational energy to make a difference not only in my life but also in the lives of others. He believes in contributing in a leadership role within a community services organisation by developing and implementing strategies to drive operational performance, develop the reputation of excellence in Business Management and add value to the industry.
Fayez is currently Chairman of the Board for Being | Mental Health & Wellbeing Consumer Advisory Group and Treasurer for Mental Health Carers NSW (MHCN). He is also a Non-Executive Board Director for Parks Community Network Inc. and Treasurer for Holistic Practices Beyond Boarders. Fayez is also the District (65 Clubs) Chair of Australian Rotary Health.
Fayez brings to the role of Treasurer for MHCN extensive executive and non-executive management skills in Board of Directors, Organisational development, Financial management, Project management, Business planning and Team leadership/management.
Tess Dellagiacoma – Secretary
I have a strong interest in the rights of people with a mental illness stemming from my work in general nursing in Sydney and Wellington between 1983 and 2002. I have a law degree and I work at Redfern Legal Centre pro bono where our clients may be marginalised and often have a mental illness.
I can use my experience in the health and legal systems to advocate for people with a mental illness to improve the quality of services. I have experience working as a policy and project officer in a number of government departments including the Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Office (MHDAO) of the NSW Ministry of Health. I was born and schooled in Sydney, and I now live in Wahroonga with my cats and dogs. My two daughters are independent adults. I work full time as a solicitor.
Anne Rouse – Ordinary Board Member
Anne is a member of MHCN NSW board since August 2014. She has over 20 years’ experience working with the aged and is very interested in the development of services/tools to provide support to elderly carers of children/partners with mental illness and/or disabilities. In addition she has personal experience of family members suffering with Alzheimer’s and the impact on the family carers.
Currently Anne is a Senior HR Advisor for IRT-Group, an aged care supplier of residential, respite, day-care centres, community services and independent living for the over 55yrs. Prior to this appointment in September 2014 she was a Senior Manager of UnitingCare for 10 years. She has extensive experience in executive leadership within the aged care and public health. This experience has key responsibilities in governance, strategic planning, policy development, workforce planning and delivery of care services. Anne has managed, recruited and developed multi-displinary groups of employees including the disciplines of nursing/carers, allied health professionals, catering, domestic, maintenance/tradesman, marketing and finance. Her career achievements include Finalist of the Carol Penning Leadership inspired care award for Uniting Care 2013 and top 10 Manager 2012 UnitingCare as recognised in the Gallop Poll Staff Survey.
In addition to her work experience skills and knowledge, Anne has a unique ability to work at a visionary level and move into a hand-on operational role. Her contributions to MHCN over the past 18 months have included the facilitation of the strategic planning process, and the review and development of MHCN’s vision, mission and values. Anne is committed to providing professional support to enable growth, sustainability and quality advocacy of MHCN.
Lynda Walton – Ordinary Board Member
With a father who was present at Nagasaki for the clean-up following the big bomb and so suffered with PTSD and a mother who was severely abused as a child, Lynda’s was a carer from a very young age.
Lynda a single mother of 4 following an abusive 10 year marriage.
Lynda found herself in many caring rolls throughout her life, including caring for many friends with Drug and Alcohol issues.
Lynda volunteered as a mental health advocate within her local community, mostly for people from culturally diverse backgrounds including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Some of which Lynda took into her home to avoid them becoming homeless.
She worked in aged care from the age of 12 and became particularly passionate about aged care advocacy when her own mother was financially and emotionally abused by Lynda’s oldest brother.
Lynda herself was diagnosed with a Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in 2003, said to be exacerbated by her Carer roles. 2 of Lynda’s children have generalized anxiety disorder.
Lynda has experienced a rich and fulfilling life and due to her personal history and subsequent recovery journey, has had many professional and personal achievements.
Linda Manoukian – Ordinary Board Member
Linda has extensive experience in the non-government and community mental health sector having worked for the Mental Health Association (MHA) NSW, Brookvale Community Mental Health Service and Westmead Depression Clinic. Linda has a special interest in training and development within the non-government sector and has developed and led the anxiety support group facilitator and information service line training courses for staff, students and volunteers at the MHA and MHCN respectively.
Linda is a clinical psychology registrar with a warm, supportive, and empowering approach, drawing from modalities such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Psychotherapy and Person-Centred. Linda has specialist training and experience in working with individuals struggling with anxiety and phobias, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), impulse control issues, self-esteem, psychosis, trauma and sleep difficulties.
Linda is committed to upholding the highest standards in ethical practice and enjoys tailoring strategies from evidence based treatment modalities to help meet her client’s specific needs and maximise their therapeutic experience.
.Madeline Fabian – Ordinary Board Member
Madeleine is a Mental Health First Aid instructor and the founder of Meeting Minds Training; a social enterprise that specialises in providing Mental Health First Aid training for young people and the adults who support them.
Madeleine holds a Bachelor of Arts (Sociology and Social Policy) and a Master of Development Studies (Community Development) and started her career in homelessness and youth services before becoming interested in mental health. She discovered a passion for mental health promotion while working for mental health organisations including headspace and Way Ahead (formerly the Mental Health Association of NSW).
In her work at both Way Ahead and headspace Madeleine led teams working towards stigma reduction and greater understanding and support for people living with mental illness and their families and friends.
Madeleine has a strong professional background in partnership building having worked with local, state and federal government, community groups, corporate and not-for profit organisations. She has a particular interest in the ways that the systems around us can support or inhibit our health and how we as carers, consumers, citizens and communities respond to systemic health challenges.
Amelia Martinez – Ordinary Board Member
My life as a carer began at 5 years of age when my mum got discharged from hospital after her first suicidal attempt, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and manic depression and my journey through the mental health system begun. Not only in our home country but in America and more recently in Australia as well. I learned that the doctors didn’t know more than me about my mum’s illness and the medications didn’t seem to work and they explained that they were still experimenting with treatments.
Me and my brother took responsibility of caring for mum at home, he is two years younger than me, and he left school at the age of 8 to work and provide for us while I stayed home looking after mum. It seems that the stress drove my brother to use drugs and he got diagnosed with schizophrenia and drug addiction at the age of 12. When I became the only carer, the doctors told me that my mother was also pregnant, she went to have two more babies. My younger siblings also became young carers and one developed depression and anxiety, and she has reached an ongoing recovery along with my mother. However my eldest brother didn’t and he is now looked after by my mum, my youngest siblings and me.
Ten years ago, I trained as an early childhood teacher which led me to participate in mental health settings as a therapeutic teacher for young carers and as a family mental health support worker. I am lucky to have witnessed many changes about the mental health services in 3 different countries but there is still a long way to go to improve it. I am glad that carer and consumer lived experience of mental illnesses is finally valued and included as a very important part of recovery.
Irene Gallagher – Ordinary Board Member
Manager Peer Workforce Program/Consumer Partnerships Coordinator at South Eastern Sydney Health District.