Mental Health Excellence Awards 2015

Dr Margaret Tobin Award

This award recognises exceptional leadership and commitment to mental health and wellbeing. This award is open to individual nominations only.

Winner: Emma Willoughby

Consumer Consultant – Office of the Chief Psychiatrist – SA Health

Emma is a social worker and a consumer with lived experience who has worked in mental health for over ten years. Emma has achieved many things over the course of her career including:

  • reducing stigma around mental illness
  • advocating for increased recovery oriented, consumer centred service provision
  • facilitating the collaboration of policy officers, clinicians, consumers and cares for the purpose of enhancing south Australian government (and indeed NGO) services to enhance the human rights of people with mental illness.
  • encouraging and inspiring those with lived experience to participate and feedback to improve service provision, bridging the gap between consumers and services. This has broken down the "us" and "them" dichotomy of the past that created stigma and disenfranchised consumers.

Finalist: Dr Megan Brooks

Clinical and Academic Emergency Medicine – Royal Adelaide Hospital

Megan is the Chairperson of the Emergency Psychiatry Advocacy Group, a coalition of Psychiatrists, Emergency Medicine Specialists and Emergency Nurses who promote equity of treatment and access for patients with Mental Illness. She is a passionate advocate for the rights, dignity and appropriate treatment of patients with Mental illness in Emergency Departments.

Megan has enabled changes in the management of MH patients in ED, such as the introduction of Section 56 powers for senior ED doctors and nurses, and improved patient pathways for MH patients in ED.

Finalist: Paola Mason

Carer Consultant - Mental Health Directorate - Central Adelaide Local Health Network

Paola’s role as a Care Consultant involves identifying, educating and supporting Families/Carers and Consumers.She is also now a past carer of a mother with mental illness.Paola’s career has included:

  • being co-Convener of COMIC (Children of Mentally Ill Consumers) now COMIC Australia Foundation
  • member of I-DASLE (International – Daughters and Sons Lived Experience) an international social network of developing leaders in the arena of Mental Health of Adult Children of Parents with a Mental Illness
  • Paola worked for COPMI (Children of Parents with Mental Illness national initiative) for 9 years and has had input to numerous Mental Health Reports, Strategies, Reviews and Legislation, two Senate Inquiries, several mental health policies and reforms.

Paola continues to be invited to undertake presentations and contribute to policy documents on a state and national level.

Mental Health Excellence and Innovation Award

This award recognises excellence and innovation in mental health service provision in South Australia. This award is open to individuals, group and project nominations.

Winner: Doctor on Campus

Victor Harbor High School

Doctor on Campus (DOC) is a Mental Health Early Intervention Model for schools. The project commenced in May 2004 as a community initiative, linking a local GP, Mental Health Clinicians, and School Counsellors to improve identification and clinical intervention in Mental Health for adolescents drawn from the Victor Harbor High School community.

The clinical success of DOC, as determined by clients, their families, by Victor Harbor High School Counsellors, by DOC clinicians and by SAFKI Medicare Local client data analysis has led to its confirmed success in 11years of operation. This success has led to other South Australian schools adopting the DOC model as well as attracting professional and policy interest from other states.

Finalist: Mates in Construction South Australia

MATES in Construction SA Ltd (MIC) was established in SA to reduce the disproportionately high level of suicide among construction workers. It is owned and controlled by the construction Industry.

MIC is based on the simple idea that “suicide is everyone’s business” and that if the building and construction industry in Australia is to improve the mental health and wellbeing of workers and to reduce suicide everyone in the industry must play their part.

MIC is independent of employers and unions and never works directly for a particular employer, but for the construction industry generally. Programs are delivered across the industry regardless of employer and / or union affiliation.

MIC provide community development programs on sites and support workers in need through case management and a 24/7 help line. To date 4,796 individuals have undertaken our training programs in South Australia and 324 clients have been provided with case management and support.

Finalist: NewAccess Adelaide


Using a unique model, NewAccess Adelaide and Flinders University provide first line clinical treatment for mild to moderate depression and/or anxiety. Low intensity cognitive behavior therapy (LiCBT) is delivered by a specially trained workforce via face to face and telephone appointments.

In fourteen months the service has treated over 490 individuals and has achieved an outstanding 75% recovery rate. This recovery rate is monitored using a series of industry accepted clinical tools including the GAD7, PHQ9, and K10.

Recovery rates are the first level of outcomes achieved and form the basis of long term impacts.

Participation and Promotion Excellence Award

This award recognises excellence in participation or promotion of mental health and wellbeing services in South Australia. This award is open to individuals, group and project nominations.

Winner: Phil Jones

Uniting Care Wesley – Port Adelaide

A Registered Psychiatric Nurse, Phil joined Uniting Care Wesley Port Adelaide over 20 years ago to work in an innovative program, known as the Metro Access Program. This was during an era when the non-government sector’s involvement in Mental Health was limited.

Since that time Phil has actively and effectively advocated for more equitable opportunities for mentally ill consumers and is now universallyrespectedacross the Mental Health sector forhisintegrity andpassion forprovidingconsumercentred and recovery focusedpsychosocial services to hundreds of consumers each year.

Finalist: The Healthy Minds Program

Healthy Minds Education and Training

The Healthy Minds Program, developed by Dr Tom Nehmy at Flinders University, is the world’s first school-based prevention and resilience program to demonstrate prevention in the onset of combined symptoms of depression and anxiety while also reducing risk for eating disorders. Theeight lesson program, designed for the Year 8 or Year 9 curriculum and implemented with more than 900 students in Adelaide schools, has resulted in publications in international peer-reviewed journals and received a Flinders University Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Doctoral Thesis Excellence. The program continues to teach South Australian students the psychological skills to build and maintain excellent mental health.

Finalist: Mentally Fit Eyre Peninsula Project

Country Health SA Local Health Network Mental Health

Three community members, personally touched by mental illness, wanted to help create a ‘mentally fit’ Eyre Peninsula. Connecting with Country Health SA Local Health Network Mental Health

Expert by Experience Officer Angela Cordon, they set about fund-raising their dream by partnering with an NGO, Rotary, Bendigo Bank and enthusiastic sponsors to create what became the hugely successful ‘Life is a Circus’ gala event.

The funds raised enabled West Coast Youth Services to facilitate community forums; delivering education programs, emphasising mental wellbeing and resilience building. The project has proved hugely successful, powered by community spirit and a passion for reducing stigma and increasing mental health awareness.